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Let’s start on the front foot

“We need to play our own game and work incredibly hard to start eradicating the faults, because we’ve conceded a number of goals of late”

6 February 2021

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Gemma Donnelly wants to see her side start on the front foot when they entertain Crystal Palace on Sunday (2pm kick-off).

Rovers have been trailing at the break in each of their last three fixtures, a stat Donnelly is keen to reverse when the Eagles arrive in Lancashire this weekend.  

And following back-to-back away games in the capital, she is also hoping that being back at Bamber Bridge can aid Rovers’ quest to return to winning ways.  

“For us, it will be nice to play at home and avoid traveling after two away games,” she said ahead of the match.

“There’s no short trip in this league so of course we’re looking forward to being back on grass and have the new players visit our home ground, and hopefully start to pick up some points.

“It’s time for the girls to ensure that they are making those chances count and we’re not in a position where we’re falling behind, and we have to start chasing.

“We need to play our own game and work incredibly hard to start eradicating the faults, because we’ve conceded a number of goals of late.

It was quite pleasing that we didn’t concede from open play against Charlton because it seemed to be the trend of the last few games that we’ve conceded three, after having a number of clean sheets, so that’s something that we’ve focused on this week.”

Despite the difficult start to the year and only picking up four points from a possible 18, Donnelly was keen to stress that Rovers have still managed to pick up four draws in the last six games.

She continued: “The two losses have come against Leicester, who have been unbeaten for a number of games, and against London City, who have enjoyed a good start to the second part of the season and have had game-time.

“I’m the first one who will not make excuses for the team if they haven’t played well but I think, all things considered, I’ve got to give them a bit of a break.

“We haven’t been in a position to field a fit, and what I would consider the strongest, starting 11 for various reasons. We gave what we could, and I thought they gave a very good account of themselves.”

Focusing on the task of facing Crystal Palace, Donnelly admitted Rovers could count themselves slightly fortunate to come away with all three points in the reverse fixture.

The Rovers manager added: “I’ve said it before, there’s no team in this league where you think: ‘that’s a given, that’s three points in this particular game’.

“Crystal Palace have been a little bit hit and miss over the course of the season. We played them away and it was a dramatic last kick of the ball winner for us.

“We weren’t at our best and we upped our game in the second half, but I expect another solid challenge from Palace.

“It will be a stern test, there’s no doubting that, but we’re working really hard to improve our performances and turn those one points into three points.

“We expect that, and I will be demanding that starts from this weekend.”

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