Andy Spence has hinted he may make changes to his Everton Ladies side as they prepare to face Birmingham City on Sunday at the Autotech Stadium.
The Blue Girls are looking to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool last time out and that, according to Spence, may mean rotating his squad for the clash in Solihull.
Everton's head coach recognises it will take time for all of his players to become accustomed to the rigours of WSL 1 but has no hesitation in giving players opportunities to perform.
“My thought process going into the season is that a lot of the squad is untested at WSL 1 level,” he told evertonfc.com. “So the realities of it are we’re seeing which players are ready now and which players may need a little more time to adjust, which players need more opportunities.
“We look at where the players are at on a week-to-week basis, as we would normally do in training, and see how well they perform. That will reflect itself in Sunday’s game, so I would perhaps expect changes.
“It’s an opportunity to have a look at a few changes, not because it’s off the back of a defeat but because we have 18 really talented players who are pushing for places.
“We will look at which players are standing out and which players have reacted well to the Liverpool defeat and then we’ll pick the team accordingly. We’ll also look at what Birmingham bring and which personnel can stop the qualities they have and also how we can hurt them.”
The Toffees face a Birmingham side also looking to respond after a defeat in their opening fixture of the campaign. Justin Skinner’s charges were 2-0 up against Arsenal only to lose 3-2, and Spence knows the threat they will pose on Sunday (12.30pm kick-off).
“We expect a side that is hard to play against and aggressive,” added the head coach. “But they are also a talented footballing side who have got match winners, senior internationals, and some young English talent.
“They ran Arsenal very close at the weekend, so we know we are up against a strong side. But we know if we get our game to the levels we’re capable of then we know we’re certainly able to go and compete.”
With the news that former Everton Ladies boss Mo Marley will take charge of the England Women’s team on an interim basis, Spence backed the manager he worked under as assistant at the Blues to help steady the ship after what has been a turbulent few months for the international set-up culminating in the dismissal of Mark Sampson.
“I’m really pleased for Mo,” said Spence. “There is no better candidate to come in and manage the situation. She is an unbelievably good coach, a great person and someone who is very well respected. I would say 80-90 per cent of the current crop of senior internationals have come through Mo’s Under-19 team.
“I may be biased but I don’t think there’ll be many arguing the fact that Mo is the right choice and I wish her well. She is someone who has been associated with Everton, and I imagine the whole football club are delighted for her.”