We spoke to Aston Villa Ladies Head Coach Gemma Davies about her team’s late loss against Sheffield Women and the approaching Second City Derby.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
The Aston Villa Ladies face Birmingham City Women this coming Sunday, with a 14:00 kick off at the Solihull Moors ground.
Coming fresh off the back of losing against a late goal against Sheffield United Women last weekend, the ladies will be hoping to use the disappointment to their advantage and gain an upper hand against their second city rivals.
Ahead of the game, we spoke to Aston Villa Ladies Head Coach Gemma Davies about how she’s finding it at the club, the new signings and both the Sheffield and Birmingham games.
How are you finding at the club, and how are the new girls settling into the side?
GD: It’s been a crazy pre-season, but I have to say that all of the staff and players have been excellent.
They made me feel welcome straight away and have spent a lot of time with me, showing me the ropes, how the wider club operates and sharing their knowledge of the players – which has really enabled me to hit the ground running!
The new signings have settled in well, which is great to see. The group are so warm and accepting that I think they found it easy to fit in really!
What are the sides personal goals for the season ahead?
GD: Firstly, we need to establish ourselves in this league as a consistent competitor. Once we’ve done that, we can look to grow and build on this.
For now though, it’s about settling the environment and our expectations as a group – training well and embedding key principles in the hope this will translate on the pitch and in our performances.
What is an area of your game that you’re keen to improve on this season?
GD: We have such a talented group of players that can, and should be playing an attractive style of football – and we’re currently working towards achieving this.
It’s a mentality change that will take time, but the environment has been set and the girls are flourishing in it.
Do you think that losing so late against Sheffield will add an extra edge to what will already be a high intensity derby?
The group are winners, and they want to win! Losing last minute to Sheffield at the weekend has certainly fuelled their desire to push further to get their first win.
For us, Sunday is just another game and we’ll be preparing as normal.
How excited are you to have such a big game so early into your season?
GD: It’s a brilliant opportunity for the team to play a WSL 1 side so early into the season, and will certainly be good preparation ahead of the opening league game on 9th September.
Of course, we’re excited for the fixture and especially because it’s a derby game, but it’s important we don’t get carried away and that we are focused on the game and our performance.
What does the rivalry between Aston Villa and Birmingham mean to you?
GD: I spent 15 years at Birmingham, both as a player and a coach and I am a huge admirer of Birmingham as a club.
I’m exceptionally thankful for the experiences and opportunities they gave me and of course that will be in the back of my mind on Sunday.
But for me personally, moving to Aston Villa was the right move. It’s a fresh start, a new challenge and an opportunity to work with some talented people.
You can purchase tickets for Sunday’s game via the Birmingham City website. If you’re free on the 26th at 14:00 for a few hours – why not pop over to Solihull and cheer on the girls!