Column by Matt Beard: “Progress is being made and there is more to come”
In his latest column, Liverpool FC Women manager Matt Beard looks forward to Sunday’s FA Women’s Championship home game with Crystal Palace and looks back on Ashley Hodson who broke the club appearance record.
It’s great to be back in action after the international break on Sunday as we welcome Crystal Palace to Prenton Park. We are looking forward to our first home win of the season and we have had a very good week of training with the really hard working girls. I am happy with the progress we are making.
Obviously we would have preferred to have more wins so far, but I’m confident that will come. What we’ve seen so far is that teams make it harder for us when they come to Prenton Park and we have to adapt to that and make sure that we work on certain elements of our game to be better.
We made changes during the closed season and signed on eight new players, and we recently added Georgia Walters on a non-contract basis and also signed new staff.
We unfortunately also had some injuries and we will obviously be without Niamh Fahey against Crystal Palace, who have to interrupt the game with a one-match suspension after being sent off against Bristol City.
We’ve had a few challenges going through the preseason with COVID-19 and a few other things, but this league so far, I think, has proven how tough it’s going to be this season. Everyone except Sunderland lost a game, so if we can win on Sunday and the teams above us lose points, we’ll be in that top half of the table again.
So overall I’m happy with the progress we’re making but we know we’re still not the finished article. We have a lot to work on and improve, but overall I’m in a dynamic mood for the current situation.
Our fans have been fantastic and I hope we can make them proud on Sunday. From our perspective we are so grateful for their support and we are so desperate to get this home win so we can get it. If we can do that it would mean we would be three games unbeaten and we can keep looking ahead.
Once again, Crystal Palace will be difficult. They are organized and can play in many ways. They are very dangerous on set pieces, they score goals. We know everyone who plays against us is always raising their level of play. I think their manager, Dean Davenport, did a great job. Each year under him they have improved and their recruiting has been very good bringing in players from the WSL. So this is another difficult test for us.
I must warmly congratulate Ashley Hodson, who passed my former captain Gemma Bonner to become Liverpool FC’s all-time record holder for women in professional football.
“I love everything about the club, it feels like home and I hope I can stay here for many more years toâ¦ https://t.co/Jub0zDwfgo
– LiverpoolFCW (Liverpool FC Women)
September 14 09:15
I remember giving Ash his debut for this club. I remember seeing her play for our reserve team when she had come back from an ACL injury the year before. What I liked about her was how straightforward, quick and how well she ended.
So far she has had a great career with this club and I think there is more to come from Ash. She has had serious injuries throughout her time here so for her to be at this club since a child and breaking Gemma’s record says a lot. She’s regaining her full clarity now after her hamstring injury and I think she’s impacting games as she’s come off the bench so far this season. She has definitely developed on the pitch as a player and I’m really happy with what I saw.
I think the next step now for Ash over the next month or so is to pretend to be in the starting XI. She’s Liverpool FC Women through and through and I’m delighted for her that she broke this record. Gemma’s post about her said a lot about Ash as a person.
It was fantastic to host Yana Daniels for the Bristol City game and I hope she can remain injury free for us by the end of the season. Yana offers us something different in the front row and she can cause all kinds of problems for the defenses. I worked with Yana in Bristol City and I know what she is capable of.
Thanks for your support as always,