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Brighton eyeing improvement on last season but won’t take Birmingham lightly

Brighton face bottom side Birmingham in the WSL on Saturday (John Walton/PA)
Brighton face bottom side Birmingham in the WSL on Saturday (John Walton/PA)

Brighton boss Hope Powell believes tomorrow’s WSL clash against struggling Birmingham will be “no easy game” for her side.

Birmingham are currently rock bottom of the table, with their five points stemming from one win and two draws throughout the season so far.

Powell led the Seagulls to their highest WSL finish last year, sixth place with 27 points, and with her side currently in the same position and two points behind that mark she is hopeful they can better that with three games to go.

“It would be great if we could, certainly in terms of the points on the board, better than we did last season,” Powell said in her pre-match press conference. “That’s what we’re striving for and continue to try and look at.

“If we perform the way we have performed in recent games then we give ourselves every possible chance of beating last season.

“But we know the game tomorrow is really going to be tough, I think mathematically Birmingham can still stay up so it will be no easy game, and I’ve always said for us there’s no easy game in this league.

“We all want to do well, recognising that they’re going to throw everything at it and we’ve just got to be able to manage the game and hopefully get something out of it, put points on the board and try and better what we did last season.”

Brighton’s recent successes come as the club today announced their “pathway to the top four” plans to grow women’s and girls’ football.

The strategy will see the club use six areas – player pathway, recruitment, performance and coaching, medical, wellbeing and marketing and communications- with the overall plan to move closer to becoming a top-four club between now and 2024.

The pathway also includes developing home-grown talent, increasing attendances, player recruitment and helping players prepare for dual careers as well as finding a long-term home closer to Brighton and Hove.

For the Blues game, Brighton will be without striker Ellie Brazil, who will miss the rest of the season with a medial meniscus tear in her right knee, while Fliss Gibbons is sidelined with Covid.

Birmingham manager Darren Carter believes his side are “more than capable” of finding the points they need to escape relegation.

Rooted at the foot of the table, they are seven points behind 11th-placed Leicester and Carter knows his side need a big performance.

He told the club’s Twitter account: “We’ve got to get points and put them on the board. We are more than capable, that is for sure.

“It’s just us now adding some quality to that. They’ve got heart and desire. They represent the spirit of what Birmingham City should be about.”

Carter has been handed a boost with Sarah Ewens and Cecilie Sandvej getting out on the grass as well as Lucy Whipp.