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Donnelly: We'll freshen up the squad

"I'm excited to see them in action, it's a real opportunity to see if they can secure a place in the starting 11"

4 November 2020

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Gemma Donnelly says she is likely to make changes to her team for tonight's Continental Tyres League Cup clash with Leicester City (7:45pm kick-off).

After a narrow defeat to Super League opposition in the opening group stage fixture, Rovers have it all to do if they are to progress into the Quarter-Finals for the first time. 

Speaking ahead of the game, the Rovers boss revealed that it will provide some of the players currently on the fringes a chance to shine. 

"It's an opportunity for me to give playing time to the squad players and those that perhaps haven't seen as much time of late," Donnelly said.  

"We've been so fully focused on getting some points out of the league, so I'm excited to see them in action and what they can offer, it's a real opportunity to see if they can secure a place in the starting 11.

"That said, it's going to be combined with some of our experienced players as well, so we're going with a bit of a mixed bunch, but it's more for me to see  where our squad players are at, against a very good side. 

"And also for all of the players selected to get some minutes, given the international break and then not playing our league fixture against Coventry at the weekend, although we played a friendly."

Leicester, who became a full-time professional team ahead of new season, signing several new players including former Rovers forward Natasha Flint, have already hosted Rovers once in 2020/21.

"When we last played them, I thought we gave an excellent account of ourselves," Donnelly recalled. 

"The difference between the teams was probably the sending off of Saffron (Jordan) early in the second-half, that changed the game massively. 

"The team then withstood the pressure for a further 20 minutes or more before we conceded the second goal, which was probably coming, but massive credit to the girls for sticking to their job and keeping the scoreline to a minimum. 

"We had one or two half chances but the girls should take lots of positives from that game, they stuck to the plan and almost executed it perfectly."

Whilst acknowledging the opponents' quality, Donnelly also pointed towards the talent within Rovers' own ranks and how they are looking forward to testing themselves and putting in a performance. 

"They're a class side, they've invested heavily over the summer and they'll for sure be title contenders for the league this season," she continued. 

"I said that early doors, so we know that they've got masses of quality within the squad, none more so than with Tash Flint, we know what she can do. 

"Of course, Leicester are only going to get better, because they are spending more time together and they are growing as a team, so we'll have that to encounter. 

"But we go there with hopes of trying to get something from the game. We're not scared of any team and we'll embrace the challenge and look forward to it.

"It's going to be an interesting night for sure. Nobody wants to travel three hours down the M6 in midweek, especially when we've got a really big game at the weekend against London Bees. 

"But we certainly won't just be turning up to get the game played out, we want to go and offer some competition and that's the plan."

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