Tottenham face the tough task of playing spoiler when they head to a sold-out Stamford Bridge for Sunday’s Women’s Super League London derby against Chelsea.
Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes will make her return after more than a month out recovering from an emergency hysterectomy in front of 40,000 expectant fans, hoping to see their team extend their winning run to nine games in all competitions.
The fixture is one of three this weekend moved to Premier League grounds as the league looks to take another step forward in its growth and, although most of those watching on will be rooting against them, Tottenham head coach Rehanne Skinner sees it as an opportunity for her players too.
“We want to do the best we can in front of every set of fans we play in front of,” she said. “Our fans will be there too and we want to make sure we put on a show. We were disappointed with our performance against Arsenal at the Emirates so we want to make sure we do better in this game.
“I think we’re in a different place now than we were then and hopefully we can show that in this game.”
Aston Villa will be at Villa Park for their match against Reading. The visitors are second bottom of the table with only one win all season, but Carla Ward has told Villa they cannot be overlooked.
“Reading are a very good side that have been in the league for a long time and I’ve made that very clear in my conversations with the players,” Ward said. “They’ve got good individuals, they’re gutsy and they’ve got a lot of character.”
Amy Merricks will remain in interim charge of Brighton for their match against Liverpool following Hope Powell’s recent exit.
Merricks, who enjoyed a dramatic 5-4 away win over West Ham in her first match, said she did not know how much longer the arrangement might last – Zoe Johnson has been named as the club’s new managing director but is yet to take up the role.
“The club is still in the process of going through the appointment and that’s ongoing,” she said. “The team is professional, the staff is professional, we’ve got a job to do and that’s what we focus on.
“My complete focus at the moment is on performance. Obviously it would be great to get two wins on the trot. I just focus on getting the team to perform.”
Brighton will face a Liverpool side who have not won since their opening day upset of Chelsea, but who hope to have used the international break to have made a few improvements.
“We can get some really good work into the players that don’t go away on international duty and actually it can be quite refreshing to spend more time and work closely with the ones that stayed back,” Liverpool assistant manager Amber Whiteley said.
“(We’ve had) some really good training sessions over the last week or so and we’ve got some really good work into them, so a really good week or so of training.”
West Ham boss Paul Konchesky has made a switch to his support staff ahead of their fixture against rock-bottom Leicester, with Jimmy Walker having been named assistant manager after joining as a coach at the start of the season.