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Preview: Blues Women v Aston Villa

Blues will be going all out to ensure it is six points from six against their city rivals.

BCFC

Blues Women play their penultimate Barclays FA Women’s Super League home fixture of the 2020/21 season as they host their near neighbours in the Second City derby on Wednesday evening.

Originally scheduled for February but postponed due to unplayable conditions, the match at the SportNation.bet Stadium (Damson Park) is the first time that Blues have hosted their city rivals in the BFAWSL.

And a repeat of the outcome from November’s reverse fixture, where Carla Ward’s side claimed the Second City bragging rights thanks to Claudia Walker’s second-half goal, would not only complete a historic double but pull the team significantly clear from the threat of relegation.

Success midweek would also build on the valuable points earned against West Ham United, Bristol City and Reading in recent weeks, and could take Blues up to eighth in the standings.

THE OPPOSITION:

The visiting team come into the match without a win in their last seven league outings, having squandered a two-goal lead and the chance of a victory in their most recent match last Saturday.

However, the opposition’s form on the road – as they will be on Wednesday – is slightly better than their record at home, with Blues’ win across the city last November being one of seven defeats they have suffered in their own backyard.

Since that meeting, the away side have undergone a change of management by recruiting Marcus Bignot to take the role of interim manager in January. He is supported by head coach Gemma Davies – who led the visitors to promotion from the FA Women’s Championship last term - as the existing staff retained their coaching positions following the arrival of the former Blues boss.

On the playing staff, goalkeeper Lisa Weiss has recorded the most BFAWSL appearances (18) this season, missing just one game after her summer arrival from Lyon. The German international is joined by a number of her compatriots including Marisa Ewers who spent three years with the Blue half of Birmingham between 2016 and 2019.

LAST TIME OUT:

Blues Women chalked up another point against Reading on Sunday afternoon. Leading as early as the fifth minute and creating chances until the last, only a Royals equaliser after the break denied Ward’s players the win. Ruby Mace had given Blues the lead from Sarah Mayling’s dangerous corner and they had chances to extend their advantage before Rachel Rowe levelled just after the hour mark. It was, however, Blues who came closest to finding a winner when Christie Murray thumped the crossbar from distance.

Bignot’s side were also left to share the points over the weekend as they conceded a 95th-minute equaliser against Bristol City. A Meaghan Sargeant own goal and Natalie Haigh’s header saw them lead 2-0 at the interval, but Faye Bryson’s impressive effort pulled the Robins back into contention with 15 minutes left to play. This set-up a grandstand finish and Matt Beard’s side drew level when Ella Mastrantonio’s free-kick evaded everyone to creep in.

WE MEET AGAIN:

Blues will be going all out to ensure it is six points from six against their city rivals after they left B6 with the maximum earlier this campaign.

On that afternoon, despite only having two substitutes available, Ward’s squad proved worthy occupants of the Second City bragging rights as they displayed each and every characteristic of a derby winning Blues team.

This performance – brimming with commitment - saw them leave the claret part of Birmingham victorious in the clubs' first BFAWSL showdown.

Reacting quickest when Lucy Whipp’s dug-out cross was only half-cleared, Claudia Walker’s strike 18 minutes from time was enough to sink the hosts and was greeted by wild celebrations on the Villa Park pitch.

WATCH LIVE:

The game will be streamed live on the Birmingham City Women’s Facebook page, kick-off is at 7pm.

Alternatively, the match will be available to view on the FA Player.

MATCH OFFICIALS:

Referee: Elizabeth Simms

Assistant Referees: Ceri William and Meilissa Burgin

Fourth Official: Sarah Garratt

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