Preview: Charlton Athletic Women v United Women
Manchester United Women's bid for promotion from the FA Women's Championship resumes on Sunday with a trip to third-place outfit Charlton Athletic Women.
The Reds, eager to get back to winning ways after a heartbreaking extra-time exit from the SSE Women's FA Cup, will aim to sustain an unbeaten league run which has seen Casey Stoney's side win four consecutive games, score 26 goals and concede just once.
Going into this weekend's fixtures we currently occupy second place, but should Tottenham slip up against Sheffield United, a win would take us back to the top of the division.
Women's highlights: United 3 Charlton 0Video
As for Charlton, the hosts' own promotion push remains alive despite their recent loss to Aston Villa. Riteesh Mishra's Addicks are third in the table, six points away from Spurs, and a win on Sunday would move them to within two points of United.
The Reds will hope for a repeat of the result between the two sides at Leigh Sports Village earlier in the campaign, where goals from Katie Zelem, Jess Sigsworth and Lizzie Arnot eased United to a comfortable 3-0 victory.
“We're expecting a physical game, a direct one for them,”revealed Stoney.
“I think they'll bring the game to us, because it's their home ground. The pitch isn't great, so it's another challenge for us in terms of managing that, in terms of making sure we adapt to the conditions, but it's a game we're more than capable of winning if we can get our mentality right, get our gameplan right. If the players can go and execute it, I'm confident we can get the win.”
Defender Kirsty Smith said:
“Charlton are a good side and it shows with previous results, but it's a good game to get us going again [after the Reading defeat]. It will be tough game against them. Hopefully we can push on and play how we can play again.”
Despite elimination from the FA Cup, it has been a successful period for United Women on and off the pitch. Stoney picked up the League Managers Association (LMA) Women's Championship Manager of the Month award award for February after dominating 7-0 and 4-0 victories against Leicester City and Sheffield United respectively.
Meanwhile, Ella Toone's sparkling form (11 goals in seven games) has earned the youngster from Tyldesley the Player of the Month award for February.
Women's highlights: Casey's Reds in Cup thrillerVideo
With Casey's side now solely focused on the task of achieving promotion, United can look at the upcoming matches without needing to worry about other competitions. The Reds have six league games remaining and all will be vital if the team want to lift the Championship trophy at the end of the campaign.
Our season concludes with a final away game against Millwall Lionesses and a home tie against Lewes.