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Donnelly previews Lionesses clash

“I know that they can play good football, but now we’re a little bit wiser to what they’ve got to offer”

23 January 2021

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Gemma Donnelly expects London City Lionesses to provide a stern test of her side’s credentials when the pair meet on Sunday (2pm kick-off).

Rovers travel to Princes Park for their first fixture of 2021, following two January postponements, looking to build on the results that saw the team rise to fifth in the FA Women’s Championship table.

“I think the girls are in good form,” Donnelly said earlier this week. “Whilst we might not have had games to gain match fitness as such, what it has afforded us to do is really concentrate on training, particularly with what we are trying to get from it.

“Obviously we’ve been trying to maintain a clean bill of health as much as possible in the current climate, so just having a game is going to be a good start for us.

“I think every team enjoys travelling to a degree. It builds morale and camaraderie amongst the staff and players.

“Like everybody, we’ve just adapted to the current situation as best we can, we get on with it and I think it’s really important at this time to be grateful that we’re allowed to continue playing football.

“Whilst there might be a few moans in there, what we can’t forget is that we’re in a really fortunate position to be playing football and I’m sure that we enjoy the football and everything that comes with that whilst we’ve got the opportunity.”

Looking back at the previous fixture against the Lionesses, a 1-0 win at Bamber Bridge, Donnelly knows the threats that the opposition can offer and will look to combat those whilst also focusing on Rovers’ own strengths across the pitch.

“We played London City in the first part of the season and I thought they were a really decent setup,” she recalled.  

“They caused us problems, particularly second half, but we shut up shop and made it really difficult for them.

“If I’m being honest a draw probably would have been a fair result, but we took the opportunity to pick up points at home and that kick-started our run.

“I expect a really tough encounter, like any team in our league. I know that they can play good football, but now we’re a little bit wiser to what they’ve got to offer.”

Although without any competitive game-time under their belts over the last few weeks, the Rovers boss believes there have been plenty of encouraging signs in training.

“The team is looking healthy and fit, we’ve had greater opportunity to spend on the pitch and that’s a good thing for us as coaches,” she admitted.

“We’re getting really precious time, giving the circumstances and training in and around Blackburn Rovers. More facilities have been opened up for access to us, so it’s good to be able to do that.

“I’m looking forward to the game and to provide opportunities for players that have been kept out in our run of good form leading up to Christmas.

“Those that are bursting for an opportunity to get into the starting 11 and then solidify that position up so it’s exciting to be able to look at providing those opportunities for players.”


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