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Donnelly: Let’s see where we’re at

“I’m looking forward to the challenge and I’m confident that we’ll put in a good performance”

6 December 2020

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Gemma Donnelly is relishing the opportunity to see Rovers test themselves against one of the best teams in the division when they face Durham on Sunday.

The Blues enter the fixture in buoyant mood after a recent unbeaten run which has seen them rise to fifth in the FA Women’s Championship table.

League leaders Durham are yet to lose so far this season, having played the rest of the top four and will be desperate to remain in top spot.

Donnelly believes the trip to Maiden Castle, a 12pm kick-off, provides one of their toughest tests yet.

“It’s good to get back into league fixtures after the international break,” the Rovers boss said. “Durham away is a super tough task for any team. They are sitting at the top of the table, unbeaten.

“They’ve had some fantastic results and a great start to the season. But like I’ve said, we don’t fear anyone and it’s a really good opportunity for us to gauge where we are at as a Club.

“We’ve got Sheffield United coming up as well, so we can see how we fare against the best teams in our league.

“It’s going to be a different encounter to the games that we’ve had. Durham are known for their physicality, but then I guess so are we.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge and I’m confident that we’ll put in a good performance.”

A 1-0 victory over Durham in the early stages of 2019-20 proved to be one of the highlights of a shortened campaign and Donnelly knows the team will have to work just as hard to take home a similar result.

She continued: “It was an unbelievable result, by my goodness did we have to work for it. For the majority of the second half we were sat in our own defensive third.

“The few opportunities that we created, obviously the goal came from a penalty which Ellie Stewart converted, we just needed that one chance.

“I’m confident in saying that’s all we’ll need again on Sunday.

“I go in completely respectful of Durham, what they’ve achieved and where they are at. The players that they have got, they are playing good football.

“I also know that they have got an amazing character and will fight right to the end, to the final whistle, but equally I know the girls are eager to go and test themselves against a top team.”

Rovers showed their clinical edge to overcome Coventry United last time out and while Donnelly acknowledged the difficulty of that contest, she was also happy with how Rovers saw the game out.

“I think whilst there wasn’t too many clear cut chances for us besides the obvious and we didn’t play at our particular best in that game,” Donnelly admitted.

“I’m not going to take that away from Coventry, I thought they broke us down in every aspect of the park and they are a tough team to play against.

“But we still came away with the result and that’s the type of character the girls are exhibiting right now.

“We’re tough, we’re a tough team, we’ve got a great team bond and that’s what we can do to teams. That’s what we hope to carry on for the remainder of the season.”

Watch the game via Durham’s Facebook Live Stream.

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