PLYMOUTH Argyle Ladies face a tricky home match against Watford on Sunday in the National League Southern Premier Division.
The good news is that fans can watch the game for free in Plymouth as it is taking place at Marjon University with a 12noon kick-off.
Argyle will be looking to turn around their recent poor form which has seen them win just one of their last seven matches.
However, it is not all doom and gloom as the Pilgrims only lost 2-1 against the league’s top two sides, Chichester City and Coventry United, as well as taking in-form Crawley Wasps to extra-time before exiting the League Cup. In those defeats Argyle have shown signs of getting back to peak form and are confident they can get something out of Sunday’s match.
Watford dropped down from Super League Two to enter the Southern Premier and currently lie in third place. Their top three position is largely down to Welsh international striker Helen Ward, who has hit 12 goals to date, including four goals in their 7-2 win at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup which won her the player of the round.
Ward, who has played for Arsenal, Chelsea and Reading, has 72 international caps for Wales and is her nation’s all-time top scorer with 42 goals.
Argyle have a selection problem this weekend as striker Helen Bleazard (pictured top), who heads the Pilgrims’ scoring chart in the absence of injured top striker Natasha Knapman, is away. However, all-action midfielder Becky Dandridge returns after sickness.
Kayley Lane, who came on as substitute last week against Crawley after returning from holiday, and Panagiota Papaioannou, who has been away this week on a Greek under-20 training camp, are also fit. Jessica Jones is also expected to be fit to join the squad, but there is a doubt about Zoe Cunningham. There is a first team recall of Faye Ivall after having a run out last week with the development team.
Argyle’s management team of Trevor Rodd and Dave Leonard have to decide who is going lead the line in the absence of Knapman and Bleazard. It also means that they will have to dip into the development team to make up the numbers.
Rodd said: “Once again everyone trained well but we are short on numbers so we may have to dip into the development team, who themselves have an important league match at second place Bideford.
“We know this is a very tough game as they (Watford) are a very good team but the girls are confident as they enjoy playing on an artificial surface and are up for the game.”
There is good news on the injury front in that Knapman, who is recovering from long-term injury, has been running this week under the watchful eye of the team’s physio and has also been doing some lateral movements.
Argyle squad: Lindsay Rogers, Leah Burridge, Ebony Dover, Darcey Hepworth, Katie Middleton, Mollie Taylor, Stephanie Beck, Zoe Cunningham, Becky Dandridge, Jessica Jones, Amber Pollock, Panagiota Papaioannou, Kayley Lane and AN Other.
The big games are coming thick and fast for Argyle’s young development side, who lead the South West League Western Division.
They pit their wits against second-placed Bideford this weekend. They had a few injury scares last week but the only definite absentee is goalkeeper Claire Squires, who has failed to recover in time for Sunday. They are fortunate in that they can call upon the services of goalkeeper Amy Darnley this week.
Argyle development squad: Amy Darnley, Hannah Brock, Shania Fenlon, Rachel Heron, Tamsin Medd-Gill. Becky Parkyn, Jodie Randall, Gabi Alphous, Kiara Robins, Maya Ridge, Nicola Champion, Alex Hugh, Kelly Vinnicombe, Vicki Fannon, Sally Salter, Abbie Scurr.