Cardiff City FC Women host Caernarfon Town Ladies at Cardiff International Sports Campus for their sixth fixture of the 2018/19 Welsh Premier Women’s League campaign on Sunday, November 11th – 2pm kick-off.
The match is one of City’s two WPWL games in hand and the squad will look to carry their terrific form of four victories and one draw from six competitive encounters into the clash. The Bluebirds’ most recent fixture was a 1-1 draw at home to Port Talbot Town Ladies in the WPWL on Sunday, October 28th and there was no match the following week.
Caernarfon Town currently sit bottom of the WPWL standings on zero points, although they also have two fixtures in hand. City are ten points ahead of this weekend’s visitors and could possibly rise to second in the league standings with victory.
The Bluebirds manager Joel Hutton spoke prior to the Caernarfon Town test, discussing preparation, selection headaches and revealing how there is greater squad strength in depth compared to last season.
“We didn’t have a game last weekend, so had a bit of rest regarding match minutes,” began Joel. “The girls were in for a good training session last Sunday morning, so we were able to keep the momentum going as best we could. A near perfect operation I suppose.
“There’s been a couple of changes that we’ve been making, both in personnel and the way that we’ve been doing bits and pieces. The number of opportunities that we weren’t putting away was apparent in the last game against Port Talbot Town. It’s something that we’ve addressed as coaching staff and something that we’re looking to implement now in the games going forward.
“We ask the girls not to make it easy for us when we’re picking teams. They’re turning up, doing over the above in training and buying into what we want to do as a team of coaches. We always ask them to give us a selection headache and some of them choose not to, but in certain positions there’s a bit of head scratching going on and a bit of discussion going on between myself and the other coaches. That’s credit to the girls for giving us these problems.
“Our problem last season was that we didn’t have enough strength in depth, when we picked up so many silly injuries. Injury prevention is part of the stuff that we do with Strength & Conditioning Coach Richie Hughes and we haven’t had any silly muscular or overuse injuries yet because of that. We’ve had a couple of impact ones, but we can’t do anything about that and it’s all positive now in respect to our strength in depth and injury prevention.”
City have a challenging fixture list in the lead-up to Christmas and Hutton concluded: “We’ve got some tough fixtures coming up and no match is easy. After Caernarfon at the weekend, we’ve got Port Talbot Town in the FAW Women’s Cup, Abergavenny in the WPWL and then in the League Cup a week later, before Swansea City in the WPWL just before the Christmas break. We’re going to have to win these games if we want to be competing for every competition.
“Regardless of whether they’re cup games or not, those matches against Port Talbot Town and Abergavenny will be a good marker of where we are at. The league is not going to be affected by the results, but we want to do well in the cups too and they’re extremely hard games that we’ll be up for. Looking back at the Port Talbot highlights from last time, we were very wasteful with our chances, so it could’ve been a different story if we’d put those opportunities away in the first-half. They’re a tough team that we’ll have to test ourselves against again.”
Kelly Bourne, who is an experienced member of the Bluebirds midfield, added: “The upcoming games are really exciting and I think everyone’s looking forward to them. Based on our performances and frustrations from the Cardiff Met and Port Talbot games – I think everyone’s ready to go into these upcoming fixtures.
“The season’s gone really well so far, with everyone buying into the new change of structure and what we’ve added in. We’ve had a few different players come into the squad, which has added a different dynamic to the team and I think everyone’s playing well. Everyone wants to be here and everyone’s buying into training and the things that we’re doing with Richie Hughes.”
The 24-year-old concluded: “The whole squad gets on really well and have done since I’ve been here. This season, the team have definitely been working better, with it having a strong dynamic both on and off the pitch and that’s been showing in our performances.”