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Preview: Reading v Blues

Blues' collective hunger and desire to improve will stand them in good stead.

Head Coach Carla Ward says the players are continuing to show promising signs.

Blues are in Barclays FA WSL action on Sunday away to Reading (2pm kick-off), off the back of a demanding schedule of an FA Cup Quarter and Semi-Final, the visit of reigning Champions Chelsea and a Continental Cup group opener.

Blues tasted victory in the last eight of the FA Cup and in the Conti Cup, but it wasn't so much about the results for Ward.

The biggest thing to come out of the spell for her was the way the side went about things.

"The application, more than anything," reflected Ward. "It's not so much a focus on the results but that real hunger the players showed as a group to try to improve, to implement what we are trying to do, that desire to get better.

"Essentially if we keep at that, keep going the way we are then we will begin to get the rewards and the points, the results, we need."

Ward added: "There's a good spirit among the girls, there's a good buzz about the place.

"We know there's another tough game coming on Sunday. Reading are an excellent side.

"But it's the same as when we played Everton in the Semi-Final, Chelsea in the league - you need to embrace the challenge and try to perform with the standards we expect of ourselves."

Although it has been very much a collective effort so far, one player Ward has particularly been delighted with is Georgia Brougham.

It's not always easy for loan players knowing that their parent club are prepared to allow them to play elsewhere.

But as far as Ward is concerned Blues have a gem in defender Brougham, who is in her second loan stint at the Club from Everton.

"Georgia goes very much under the radar," said Ward. "But right now she is bringing so much to the squad, on and off the pitch.

"She's simply irreplaceable, to be honest.

"She's been excellent for us in our games and in training she's the first one to do extras, she pushes those around and drives players forward.

"I have been absolutely delighted with her, with what she has brought on the pitch and the way she is leading off it."

Blues will be without midfielder Emma Kelly after she sustained an ankle injury following a strong challenge in the Blackburn game.

Ward commented: "It's a big loss for us. She's looked really bright. Her ankle has flared up and we're having it scanned to see the extent of the damage."

Goalkeeper Hannah Hampton should be back between the sticks after missing out in midweek through injury.

Blues drafted in Stoke City's Daniela Kosinska on a dual contract to deputise.

Ward said: "It only happened on the Wednesday at 4pm - it really was last minute dot com.

"Stoke helped us out as a one off and Daniela did a very good job as a young 'keeper stepping straight into that environment, keeping a clean sheet."

Similarly to Brougham, Connie Scofield has also earned favour with the Head Coach for her commitment to the cause, despite not being able to nail a regular starting spot.

When Ward freshened things up for Chelsea's visit the midfielder was given an opportunity and responded accordingly.

"Connie has probably impressed me more than anyone in terms of her not starting and playing many games, but maintaining such a great attitude.

"She is certainly knocking on the door and doing everything she can to get out there on the pitch."

Heidi Logan made her return to the Blues bench in the Continental Cup for the first time after her long-term knee injury.

Ward is mindful that the midfielder needs to clock minutes under her belt still.

"It's great to have Heidi involved but she still really needs some development games to get her right for the first team. We'll look at that or try to get her out on loan."

Watch Blues in action this Sunday 

Carla Ward's side will be hoping to build on their strong performances against Chelsea and Blackburn when they travel to Reading on Sunday 11 October (2pm kick-off).

Fans can follow all the action live on the FA Player and on the @BCFCWomen Twitter page. 

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