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London City Lionesses return to Princes Park to take on Lewes FC Women

This Sunday sees the London City Lionesses back in action at Princes Park, as they get ready to take on Lewes once again.

It was a difficult afternoon for the Lionesses last weekend, as they were narrowly defeated 1-0 by Watford.

Yet one clear positive to take from the game was the first start of January signing Katie Kitching.

“Katie’s been chipping away and coming on late in games for a while now and playing in that attacking full-back role.” said Phillips.

“Katie has a lot of strengths that suit the way we want to play; she’s attack orientated, very physical out of possession and great at hunting balls down and counter pressing.

“It’s great that she and Shanade [Hopcroft] have been able to come into the side and challenge the group and help us continue to move forward.”

Whilst Kitching and Hopcroft and now just starting to make an impact on the side, goalkeeper Shae Yanez has been an ever-present figure between the sticks this season.

But off the pitch, how has she found working with, and mentoring the two younger keepers in the side, Anna Pedersen, and Jess Grey?

“We have a great environment here and we all get along well,” said Yanez, “and I think it's so important to have that trustworthy and honest environment because we're all here to get better.

“I'm the oldest of the three, and I want to help them as much as they can help me because each of us has different strengths and weaknesses. So, we can all take little things from each other to improve our own individual game.”

Indeed, Yanez and the rest of the team are going to have to be on top form this Sunday, as they welcome Lewes to Princes Park.

Back in September it was a tough afternoon at the Dripping Pan, as Lewes came away with a 1-0 in a tightly contested match.

But of course, the squad has grown a great deal together since then, such is the nature of being a young team.

“We're the third youngest team in the league,” said Phillips, “and we’ve done a fantastic job to perform the way that we have and grow throughout the season.

“We’ve seen the squad mature a lot, and we'll definitely have to mature as a result of the adversity we faced throughout the last few games, as we haven't gotten the results, we were after.

“But those games, along with ones such as Brighton in the cup, Liverpool early in the season or ones that we had to really grind out and find a way to nick a goal, are all experiences that will help mature the group as we move forward.”

Going into Sunday and coming up against a side as gritty as Lewes, the Lionesses are going to have to set the tone of game from the first whistle.

“We want to be the hardest working team in the league and that's not an easy feat,” said Phillips, “but it’s something we have to remain focused on and build into our DNA.

“If you look at the teams who have won the league in past, every game that you watched, or even when we played against them, had so much determination and desire to compete and drive to win the League.

“That’s what it takes, and we've had that in large spells in the season and now we have to get back to the basics of what made us so successful early in the season and use that to really springboard into the last few games.”

Indeed, for the whole team, Sunday will be the chance to bounce back from the disappointing results of the previous weeks.

“We're in a run of games where we haven't had our best performances,” said Yanez, “so we're just looking forward to getting back on the pitch and getting back to winning ways and doing what we know we can do and what we're capable of.”

And of course, for Yanez and the rest of the squad, being back at Princes Park in front of the fans, will give all of them a real boost when they walk out onto the pitch.

“It’s been great playing at Princes Park this year,” said Yanez, “I’ve been lucky enough to have my parents attend games twice now, and they’ll also be at the game this weekend, and that means a lot to me.

“It’s also been great having the academy coming to the games as well, and after every game I speak to a young goalkeeper called Gracie, and that’s something we’re all really glad to do, to help inspire them.”

The London City Lionesses kick off against Lewes at 4:30pm on the 27th of March at Princes Park! Click the link to get your tickets now!

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