PREVIEW: Blues v Reading

I think for the 90 minutes, it’s like a mini war.

Marc Skinner

Birmingham City Women return to league action for the first time this year, as they host Reading at Solihull Moors.

Blues go into the match off the back of a loss to Manchester City, while they drew to Bristol City in the final game of 2018. However with a point to prove, manager Marc Skinner believes that his players are raring to go.

In the last meeting between the two sides, Blues beat the Royals at Adams Park 1-0 when Meaghan Sargeant fired in a powerful strike.

This time, however, will be a different challenge for Kelly Chambers’ side as they have never faced Blues at Solihull Moors while Skinner has been at the helm.

He said: “It’s a totally different challenge for Reading because since I’ve been in charge, they have never played us at Solihull Moors which is quite a fortress for us.

“Because of the history of the two clubs, I love this game. It is really competitive people playing against each other and I think for the 90 minutes, it’s like a mini war. I have so much respect for the coaching staff and the players there. It’s a type of game that you can’t prepare mentally for because of the characters they have.

“Reading are a very good attacking team and we’ve got to make sure we shut that down, but we’ve got to make sure we hurt them the other way too. I’m really looking forward to playing them at Solihull Moors and getting back in front of our fans.”

It is the first of three games to be played in a week, as Blues also feature in the quarter-finals of the Continental Cup.

Skinner believes that it will be a tough month, but both the players and his coaching staff are exciting for the challenge.

“It will be a tough month. Welcome back, happy New Year,” he joked. “I think it will be a very tough, but it could be a very rewarding month. I think it will be quite a defining month too, because whoever hits the ground running again going into the year builds up that momentum.

“Reading are always tough, and we need to manoeuvre our way through that game. Then you’ve got the top of the table, Arsenal, coming in the Continental Cup quarter-final which is again another great challenge. I think we did ourselves proud when we went and played there last time but we need to take a result as it is a cup game.

“Then we go into Bristol, so three very different challenges. Tough, tough and tough would be the way I describe it. But that’s what the players are here for, they are chomping at the bit to get back and play so I think if we can get the girls to take ownership, why can’t we go and take maximum points out of these games?”

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