Everton Ladies kick off their Continental Cup campaign against Doncaster Rovers Belles on Thursday night looking for their first win of the season.
A tough start to their WSL 1 campaign has seen the Blue Girls narrowly defeated by Liverpool, Birmingham City and Manchester City so far, but Andy Spence’s side now switch their attentions to the season’s cup competition.
And while facing the WSL 2 Belles presents an opportunity to freshen up his squad, Spence is looking for the win that recent performances have deserved.
“We are looking at this competition like any other – a chance to go and win games of football,” the Ladies head coach told evertonfc.com. “We start at Doncaster, who we know from last season and who will give us a tough game. Every competition is important because we don’t play that many games.
“It will be a chance, too, to give players who perhaps haven’t played as much as others some minutes under their belt. But we still have every intention to be as competitive as we can and win the game.
“There will be some rotation because you don’t want to leave too big a gap between games and we have near enough two weeks until we play Arsenal in the WSL. For those who haven’t had much football so far, that is a long time to go without. Thankfully, most players have played a good amount so far but certainly the likes of Kirstie Levell will start the game in goal. She has been great in training and deserves to play.”
The Toffees have been drawn in a group alongside Doncaster, Birmingham, Manchester City and Oxford United in this season’s Continental Cup.
With two other WSL 1 sides to play, Spence recognises that a strong start will set up his side for the fixtures still to come.
“It’s massively important to kick off the group in a positive manner,” he added. “After Arsenal, we play Birmingham and Manchester City in the competition so we have to pick up points early on.
“But we know we face a good side. I have a lot of time for Doncaster. They are a club who do things the right way, bringing through young players alongside some good senior players like Leandra Little to help them. They have shown with the start they have made to the season that they have quality.
“It is important we start with a win, and the girls deserve one. In our three league games we have steadily got better and certainly in the Birmingham and Man City games, we felt like we should have come away with points.
“We want to get that first win, it will give us a little boost but I have not seen heads drop. The girls have seen the progress that we have made, but at the end of the day a win is a win and hopefully we can go and get one in Doncaster.”