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Beard ready for ‘biggest game of the season’

Matt Beard has made no effort to shy away from the significance of Saturday’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League fixture against Aston Villa (12.30pm KO). 

🎥  Beard looks ahead to important Villa clash

City Women travel to the Banks’ Stadium to come up against a Villa side one place above the Robins at the foot of the division - only on goal difference - in what is a real ‘relegation battle’.

Beard’s side do however enter the showdown with some form to their name, having suffered one defeat in their last three league outings, which the City Women manager hopes will play to their advantage.

“It’s the biggest game of our season without a shadow of a doubt,” Beard told Robins TV. “We know what we need to do on Saturday.

“Three points will be a massive lift for us, but the most important thing is we get something out of the game on the day. We’ve been training well; I feel we’ve been performing well, and I felt we were unlucky against Brighton on Sunday.

“We’re at the business end of the season now so there’s going to be different pressures, but we’ve got ourselves in a good position and we’ve got to continue to believe. I definitely believe in the group, without a shadow of a doubt.

“The biggest thing for me, and this is over time as I’ve got older and more experienced, is making sure as a group of staff we’re in control. There will be times where I might need to put my arm around them, there might be times I need to give them a gee up, so it’s just making sure we recognise that as well.”

Ebony Salmon netted twice in the Robins' victory against Villa back in January (JMP Sport)

Attention to detail will again be at the forefront of Beard’s preparation but he also wants his players and staff to reflect on positive performances and results in recent fixtures, and the pressures they’ve already overcome.

“We’ve had a meeting this morning, we’ve had lots of meetings about what we can and can’t control, discussed different stages of the game and momentum so we’ve spoken about it and we know there’ll be pressures,” he continued.

“It’s a big game and look, against the teams we’ve played in and around us we’ve generally got points so that’s a real positive for me to know that in these pressure games we can cope with the pressure and pick points up.

“If you look at our form in the second half of the season in comparison to all the teams in this relegation battle, we’re the ones that have the momentum so to be in the position we are in is fantastic compared to where we were when I first came in. We just want to get the job done and finish what we started.”

Saturday's match will be available to watch on the FA Player App for free. 

WATCH ON FA PLAYER


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