Leicester City v Birmingham City: Will it be WSL relegation decider?


Birmingham City sit one point above bottom side Leicester City in the WSL tableTwo clubs fighting relegation, two new managers and two sides searching for their first Women’s Super League win this season – Leicester and Birmingham have everything to play for.

The two sides go head-to-head in Sunday’s mouthwatering WSL clash at the foot of the table.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Leicester City captain Sophie Barker told BBC Sport. “When there’s new managers, teams always seem to raise their game. It’s the same for both teams this time.

“We’re in exactly the same position except they have one more point than us. We really need to go out there and prove why we deserve to stay in this league.”

New Leicester City boss Lydia Bedford said the game is a “tasty” one but has urged her players not to “put all their eggs in one basket”, insisting they have other opportunities to pick up points this season.

But midfielder Barker admitted it was going to be a “massive occasion” at King Power Stadium and it’s up to the experienced players like herself to help control the team’s emotions.

“It’s very important for both teams. This league is very difficult,” she added. “We know the occasion and how big it will be and we’re under no illusions as to how hard it will be either.

“We will probably see a cagey 10 minutes because there will be nerves out there. Even when you go into it thinking you’re not nervous, when you step out on to the pitch and the whole crowd is there, it does become nerve-wracking.

“It’s important for us to settle the girls down. It might be new to them. We’re quite composed on the ball and hopefully come Sunday we will be that calming influence for the team.”

Barker also hopes Leicester can bag three points as an early Christmas present – and in her case a joint-birthday gift.

“My birthday is on Christmas Day as well so it couldn’t come soon enough! If we can get the win it will give us good momentum going into the Christmas break and the new year on a positive note.

“It’s not the be-all and end-all in our season so we need to stay positive regardless of the result. But we believe that we can go and win it.”

Manchester City v Reading in WSL postponed£30m investment ‘will help thousands of girls to develop’The rookie WSL manager in charge at Leicester City’It won’t define season – but we want to win’Lydia Bedford (left) joined Leicester on 30 November while Darren Carter (right) started at Birmingham City a week earlierBirmingham boss Darren Carter said his Christmas dinner will be much better with a glass of wine to celebrate a victory, but insisted the result would “not define the season”.

“It was always going to be the case that it would be hyped up as a six-pointer,” he told BBC Sport.

“We still have half of the season to go after it though. It’s a game that you want to play in. There’s hype around it and we’ll have to handle that.

“The players are hungry for success and to get that first win on the board. We’ll be going out there gunning for that. It’s going to be great. Two teams competing and going for their first win – it will be an exciting game I’m sure.”

Carter, who is a lifelong Birmingham City fan and a former player at the club, said he was excited to be part of such a big game as a head coach.

“It’s what it’s all about. As a player, a coach or even as fans you want to come to a game where there’s a lot riding on it and there’s that edge,” he added.

“It’s what you’re in the game for. It would be nice if we were fighting at the top end of the table, but we are where we are and we need to fight for points.

“The best team will win on Sunday and we’re hoping it’s us.”

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