Brian Sorensen has urged his Everton Women side to be at their best when they travel to Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday.
The fixture is the first of two away visits for the Blues in four days with a trip to Reading to follow on Sunday.
Melissa Phillips’ side currently prop up the WSL table and will be fighting for every point as they bid to survive the drop, something which Sorensen feels the Seagulls are capable of doing. The Blues boss was a keen onlooker as Brighton were edged out 3-2 in the FA Cup semi final to league leaders Manchester United and praised the performance of the South Coast outfit, whom he has likened to Everton last season.
“We have two really important games that I feel we can win,” he said. “They (Brighton) have good players and an overall good squad. But I think they are similar to how Everton were last season in terms of lacking consistency and being on a spiral that is going the wrong way.
“I saw them against United on Saturday and they looked like they had a togetherness, they didn’t get the result but the performance was good. They have some tough games to play in the run in. We will see how they come against us but I think if they can get it together they shouldn’t go down.”
“We will go there and try and get a win but we went to Leicester and could only draw as we weren’t sharp enough on the day.
Top four aside, this league is really tight and, on the day, it is down to the performance.”
Everton last competitive fixture was a dramatic 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on 2 April. Since Aggie Beever-Jones secured all three points the Blues have had to wait patiently but do have Emily Ramsey back in training and in the squad. The stopper will probably have to wait her turn though due to the inspired form of fellow ‘keeper Courtney Brosnan, although Sorensen will be grateful of the strength in the depth during the run in.
A host of managerial changes has not helped Brighton this campaign, with Phillips being the fifth new face at the helm this season.
November 2022 was the last time that they secured three points in the WSL with an incredible 5-4 win at West Ham United. FA Cup aside, Phillips team have endured a difficult season, and have the division’s leakiest defence with 50 goals already conceded.
The Seagulls last win accounts for almost a third of their WSL tally of 18, one fewer than tomorrow’s visitors. Forward Danielle Carter poses Brighton’s most realistic goal threat, the England international has weighed in with nine so far and will be keen to finish the season in double figures.
Katie Robinson has been impressive this campaign and the forward will be another one to watch as she looks to boost her team’s survival hopes while adding more caps to her international portfolio.
It was honours even on the final day of last season; Nathalie Bjorn’s effort in added time in the first half was cancelled out by Aileen Whelan.
The opening 45 belonged to Everton but their hosts were much improved after the restart and managed to secure a seventh-placed finish with the draw, leaving Everton to end the season in tenth.
Fast forward to now and Brighton would kill for the finish their visitors secured at the end of the campaign, whereas Everton will not be giving up on pipping Aston Villa to fifth spot, something three points at Brighton would certainly help with.
Two of Everton’s upcoming fixtures have been changed following selection for broadcast. While the Blues can’t win the WSL, they could still have a say in who comes out on top when they host Arsenal and travel to Chelsea.
The clash with Jonas Eidevall’s side was originally pencilled in for Sunday 30 April, but due to the Gunners’ progression in the UEFA Women’s Champions League will now take place on Wednesday 17 May 6.15pm (BST) live on Sky Sports.
The Blues’ trip to face reigning champion has also been rescheduled. The fixture will remain on Sunday 7 May, but will now kick off at 6.45pm (BST) having originally been scheduled for 2pm, and will be televised live on Sky Sports.