This weekend sees the Lionesses travel up to the North East, with a 550-mile round trip from Princes Park, to face Durham Women FC.
After a much-improved performance against Crystal Palace, Head Coach Lisa Fallon and the squad have been making the most of the international break to prepare for the game.
Reflecting briefly on progress so far this season and the performance against Crystal Palace Fallon commented, “There was a lot of really positive aspects. We've come in as new staff and we're implementing new ideas. We’ve got some new players and it takes time to put down philosophies. But I’ve been in the game long enough to understand that these things are a process and obviously we’re in a results driven industry. We can see real progress and we're much, much happier with the performance against Crystal Palace as it’s much more representative of the work we've been doing in training and we created a huge amount of chances in that game."
“It's very early in the season and there's been some up and down results already and I think it's going to be that type of division this year. Everyone's going to take points from each other and it's about just getting yourself into the mix and staying in there.”
Asked about the approach to this weekend’s game against Durham, considering the artificial pitch and the conditions which are known to be difficult with the wind, Fallon said, “The conditions are the same for both teams. So, we both have to play in those conditions and a lot of the players here have played Durham before so there's plenty of familiarity. They know exactly what the environment is that we're going into and the type of team that they are. We know that they are a well-connected, physical team, but they can play and we will give them that respect. But obviously we will go there with our own game plan and try to win."
“They did really well last year, they finished above us. So, there's no doubt in my mind that this will be a tough game. But, we've worked really hard in training so far this week and will continue to do that for the rest of the week. By the time the whistle goes on Sunday, we will be ready.”
Alongside Fallon at this week’s virtual press conference was Goalkeeper Shae Yanez. Joining this season Yanez was asked to compare the experience so far with playing in the USA, “I think it is very technical over here and it's definitely a different game than the states. Obviously, I played in college and my first year professionally in the States, but I definitely think it's comparable. People compete and everyone's a lot more technical. But I think it hasn't been a huge adjustment. Just learning the style of play and how we play and adjusting to that.”
Yanez went on to say, “All the girls and all the staff have been so welcoming and obviously we started out in small group training and that kind of made it easier to get to know everyone a little more and then as we progressed, it wasn't even an adjustment really, we just all melted together and we became a team. We were able to adjust as a unit and not just as individual players and I think the process of small group and then bigger group training, definitely helped with that aspect."
“But yeah, it hasn't been a hard adjustment and I’m thankful that everyone has been welcoming, I love it here!”
The match against Durham kicks off at 12 noon on Sunday 27th Sept.