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London City Lionesses prepare to take on Watford in first match of 2022

This Sunday, the London City Lionesses travel to Watford for their first match of the new year.

2021 was a year to remember for the Lionesses, with a host of new players coming through the doors of Princes Park helping to land the team third place in The Championship at the end of the year, with a game in hand.

Speaking on the last year, manager Melissa Phillips had this to say:

“A lot of fans, supporters and people around the club have asked if we're surprised to be in the position that we're in right now, given how much change we had over the summer.

“We knew we had such a stable core group of people and that we were adding another group of people to the team and staff dynamic that we're going to add value and shared ambitions.

“It’s been an incredible year of growth for the club.”

One of last summer’s new crop of players, Amy Rodgers, spoke on what was an eventful year for her, leaving Liverpool to join London City:

“2021 was quite a mixed year for me personally,” remarked Rodgers, “but I'm delighted I came to London City.

“I joined the club because of the ambitions they have and the conversations I had with Mel and I'm so glad that I made that decision now, looking back.

“The back-end of 2021 ended on a high for me, I feel that I'm back playing my best football and I'm enjoying myself and starting to get into my stride. So, I'm hoping that I can carry that on into this year.”

Such time to regroup and prepare will surely prove vital for City, as they look to continue to push for top spot in a highly competitive Championship season.

“This is by far the most competitive Women's Championship season we've seen,” remarked Phillips. “Everyone's taken points off everyone and there's been some surprising results each weekend.

“We always prepare like the next match is going to be our toughest, and we do that each week by staying focused on our team objectives and looking where we can exploit the opposition.”

Indeed, Watford are a testament to the competitive nature of the league this season, as, despite sitting at the bottom of the table, they’re a side that has caused problems to a number of teams in the division.

Indeed, the Lionesses 2-1 win at home over the Hornets back in October was hardly a walk in the park.

“I know they're at the bottom half of the table and we're near the top but for me that doesn't really change anything,” said Rodgers.

“We need to go and impose our game on them and from there try and control it and come away with three points. I think we've got to expect a tough test, but that's just life in The Championship.”

This competitiveness of the league might be the highest it’s been, yet that has done little to deter the ambitions of Philips and her coaching staff for 2022.

“It's a big year ahead and it's a big opportunity for us. We have to take things day by day, but we know we're capable of continuing to challenge for that top spot and be really competitive.”

For Rodgers, 2022 brings with it a chance for her to keep pushing on and improving her own game even more.

“I want to enjoy my football and work hard because that's when I'm playing my best football, and that's how I can help the team to win the league. So, working hard, enjoying myself and playing my football and hopefully we can go and get that trophy,” said Rodgers.

The London City Lionesses take on Watford on Sunday the 9th of January. The next game back at Princes Park will take place on the 16th of January against Sunderland. Click the link to get your tickets now!

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