Holly Wright was in Reading boss Kelly Chambers‘ media conference for Impetus ahead of this Sunday’s huge encounter with Leicester City as two teams still searching for their first WSL win of the season go head-to-head at the Select Car Leasing (Madejski) Stadium (28/10/22).
Above: Reading head coach Kelly Chambers – ready for a big game on Sunday. Photo: Thomas Lee Stacey Supplied to Impetus by: Reading FC Women.
After falling short of what would have been a sensational comeback away to West Ham United last weekend after a disappointing first-half performance, Reading head coach Kelly Chambers and her players have been working hard to ensure they start on the front foot when they host Leicester City on Sunday afternoon.
“We have addressed that in the group. I have got good experience within the group, and we don’t hide away from that. We have looked at that this week. We have analysed that, but we also wanted to move on from last weekend. We were disappointed but we need to start right. We need to start from the first whistle and the girls are fully aware of that. We have worked hard this week to make sure we are ready for the game and I’m ready for the challenge ahead.”
Reading have lost all four of their games meaning they currently sit level on points at the bottom of the league table with their opposition this weekend despite Leicester having played a game more. The Royals head coach admits that her team are fully aware of the pressures of this weekend and are relishing the challenge ahead.
“We are both in the same boat at the minute. It’s a case of this week’s just been focusing on us. Focusing on what we need to do. I don’t need to tell the girls that there is pressure on the game. They are old enough, wise enough, and experienced enough to know that but what I have made clear to them is we need to make sure that we go in with our game plan and we deliver our game plan.”
Although it is still early in the season the hosts will be determined to take the positive second-half performance against West Ham and the encouraging display against Arsenal into what could already be seen as an early regulation battle.
“There is no hiding from this game as much as it is still early on in the season. When you are coming up against a team that is in pretty much similar position as you want to make sure that you go into that game coming out on top. I haven’t had to lay that out to the girls this week. They know what pressures they want to put on themselves.”Kelly Chambers, Reading head coach on the enormity of Sunday’s game against Leicester City.
“They know what they want to get out and achieve. It is still early days, but we go into every game trying to get something out of it, whether that be Leicester or Arsenal, or whether that be someone else. We know it’s going to be a good tough battle, but we are fully focused on Leicester this weekend to make sure that we are fully prepared for that game.”
Reading’s substitutes made a huge impact in their match last weekend impressing Chambers, but she insists it’s about picking the right players for the right opposition to get the result. “I’ve always looked at previous games and it’s a case of with the depth from squad that I have got, it’s about what players can do the job that I want them to do in certain positions. I am just lucky that I have got the players that I have got available to be able to have that choice.”
Both sides will no doubt be desperate for their first three points of the season as they try to create daylight and push away from the drop zone. Focusing on Leicester specifically, Chambers observed: “They are obviously in a bit of a difficult position like we are which is hard to be in, but we have been watching some of their games back and obviously analysing as we do. We know what threats that they have.
“They know and we know what they like to do and like anybody in this league, I think anybody on their day can beat anybody, so we are not going into this game light-hearted, and we know what it means to us to make sure that we get points on the board.”
Leicester have only hit the net once so far this season with the focus being put on Reading getting the first goal and starting on the front foot something which they failed to do against West Ham. Chambers is expecting a slightly different style of play from the one they faced last weekend:
“Everybody in this league has their different styles and Leicester are completely different to West Ham in terms of their style of play and the shape they play in. It’s been a case of making sure that we prepare for that, and their threats and working out where we can have our impact on the game. It’s going to be an exciting game, no doubt, but one the same as last week than we want to try and get something out of it.”
The Royals have had great crowds at the Madejski Stadium this season with Sunday’s fixture looking to be more of the same with the crowd being called on to drive the players to get the much-needed result.
“It’s just amazing to see those people come through the door to support us and if those people are coming, we need (the fans) to be that extra player for us. We want to hear (them) singing because they want it just as much as me.”
There are no fresh injury concerns this weekend although Reading have already been hit with a few long-term absentees in the squad. “We have been hit with injuries quite hard with Deanna Rose getting injured and Emma Harries not back fully fit yet so that had taken a bit of a hit on us but to be fair I wanted a squad this year and I feel I’ve got that.
Five months after suffering an ACL injury playing for England under 23s against Holland in April, Harries made her return earlier this month only for her return to match fitness halted by another little niggle. “The game where she (Harries) took the knock against Arsenal has just set her back a little bit, which is disappointing because obviously she was a real threat against those but we need to look after.
“She is still very young, and we just need to give her time and make sure that we look after so she can complete the whole season. It’s been touch and go but I wouldn’t say that she would be available for this week.”
Rose faces a race against time to be fit for next year’s World Cup after sustaining a ruptured achilles in their opening WSL match of the season. “She will be out for the rest of the season. She has got a goal of trying to reach the World Cup and we are obviously fully on board to try and support her with that. In terms of us, there is hope that she could be back before the end of the season but that would be the very, very earliest.”
Sunday’s game between Reading and Leicester City at the Select Car Leasing Stadium will be available live on the FA Player with kick-off scheduled at 2pm. Alternatively, Reading will be providing live text commentary on their official Twitter channel with build-up beginning around 1pm.