“I don’t think it’s a game to go and enjoy” says Sheffield United skipper

A week on from their controversial loss against Charlton Athletic, Carla Ward’s Sheffield United will return to action this weekend as they travel to the Loughborough Foxes, to participate in the FA Women’s Cup fourth round. 

The 3-2 defeat on home soil, was the women’s second consecutive loss at the Olympic Legacy Park. With, the game making the headlines not due to either team’s performance, but by virtue of several beyond description errors from the officials.

This resulting fixture saw the Addicks rise into one of the two automatic promotion spots. Whilst, United fell down to eighth in the table, as a consequence of the London Bees defeating Lewes on the same matchday.

On the other hand, this Sunday’s opponents are currently sat third in the FA Women’s National League South, succeeding a satisfying first half of the campaign. They also will be coming into this fixture against the Blades’ with confidence, following their dominant 2-0 victory over C&K Basildon.

When asked whether the fixture against Loughborough can be overlooked due to their position in the Women’s pyramid, United’s captain Ellie Gilliatt, responded: “I don’t think it’s a game to go and enjoy, it’s disrespectful to the opposition”.

“We need to put everything right that we didn’t do for ninety minutes against Charlton. We need to put it right against Loughborough and give them the respect they deserve. I’m not interested who we play, it shouldn’t change our approach to the game”.

United will have to take Loughborough seriously if they’re to progress into the next round, as shown in the competition’s previous round. The Foxes battled back in a seven-goal thriller against Billericay Town, showing their desire to advance in the competition.

Additionally, previewing this Sunday’s fixture Blades manager Ward, said: “It’s all about trying to build on what we have now ready for Durham”.

“It might be a bit of a freebie so to speak with the girls. The FA Cup isn’t important to us this year. We respect the FA Cup, but it’s not important”.

Therefore, it’s evident Ward will be again evaluating her squad at Loughborough, in anticipation for the two crucial upcoming league fixtures against Durham, and Manchester United that follow this FA Cup clash.



FAWC Preview: Sheffield United vs Charlton Athletic

After a three week absence since their first fixture of 2019 against Tottenham Hotspur, Carla Ward’s Sheffield United will return to action at the Olympic Legacy Park, as they host third placed Charlton Athletic. 

The 2-1 defeat in the hands of promotion-chasers Tottenham, was the Women’s first defeat on home soil, but definitely wasn’t a performance to leave the team tormented. Ward’s side left a lot more than sweat on the pitch, as they came narrowly short from taking a point from the game.

This Sunday’s opponents Charlton are also pushing for one of the promotion spots, after a convincingly strong first half of the campaign. In comparison to the Blades’, Charlton kept their promotion dreams alive to start 2019, with a 2-2 draw against rivals Durham.

However, Charlton’s fixture against second-placed Manchester United two weeks ago was abandoned inside the first 15 minutes. Defender Charlotte Kerr suffered a serious injury during Manchester United’s opening goal, which forced the referee to call off the fixture following a lengthy delay.

This ensures how huge the result of this fixture may impact both team’s season, as the Addicks look to keep up the pressure on Tottenham and Manchester United at the top end of the table. Whilst, United currently sit seventh in the table with games in hand over those above.

Additionally, Ward’s team currently sit five points behind London Bees in sixth, but have two games in hand as the run-in towards the end of the season has begun.

Blades fans will be hoping to see even more from new signings Ebony Salmon and Maddy Cusack, who both impressed on their debuts against Tottenham. While, Sam Tierney, Bex Rayner, Alethea Paul, and Veatriki Sarri will all return from international duty to the matchday squad.

On the other hand, Charlton will be looking at new signing Sara Eggesvik to show her ability and boost their chances of leaving Sheffield with three points. Eggesvik signed for the club earlier this month, following a successful spell at Norwegian club IK Grand Bodo.

This fixtures sees the beginning of a hectic schedule for United, with the FA Cup kicking off next weekend. Therefore, Ward will be hoping she can keep her squad fully fit going into this tough period.