Football in Berkshire’s Women’s Football Correspondent, Abi Ticehurst, spoke to Reading manager Kelly Chambers this week during a pre-match press conference ahead of the Royals game against West Ham United in the FA Women’s Super League. Here’s everything she had to say.
Emma Harries and squad availability
Kelly Chambers said everyone was ‘fully fit and raring to go to get back into a game’, the only omission currently is Emma Harries who confirmed this week that she’d suffered a PCL injury whilst on international duty with England U23’s. Chambers called the news heart wrenching but reiterated that she was well supported and they’re keen to have her back as soon as possible.
West Ham and the WSL table
Chambers expects to play a typically defensively aggressive game against the Hammers but that the squad is well prepared to face the challenge after this week’s training.
“Both teams like to play aggressive, both teams like to defend aggressively so we know that the most important part is going to be how we defend our box and our half of the pitch, but also when we do those moments in and around their goal, we need to punish and for us that’s going to be a real highlight going into that game.”
Contracts and the transfer window
Chambers confirmed that we should expect to see a considerable number of the squad back in hoops next season, which will be relief for many Reading fans given the mass exodus seen in the last two summer transfer windows “The key thing for me is I’ve got a big part of this squad for next season and if I look at the last two summer windows, we’ve had a massive turnaround in players so to build that consistency has been difficult and that is going to be key for us next season”. We’ll have all the updates as soon as we know about them when the summer transfer window opens in July.
The timeline on Chaplen’s return is unknown for now and she’s in long term rehabilitation but the Royals boss says she’s in good spirits and is in with the rest of the squad on a day to day basis.
Related: An update on Brooke Chaplen
“I truly believe that we’ll see the fruitions of this season and how we’ve built this coming into next season”Kelly Chambers on the contributions expected from the squad
FA Cup semi-final heartbreak
West Ham repeated Reading’s 2019 heartbreaking FA Cup moment when they were knocked out by Manchester City this season, so it’s possible there could be a bit of backlash expected from the squad in their first game since the defeat I think they’ll want to go into this game, a bit like us, there’s a few teams now that are competing for those places and everyone wants to fight to be high up the league as far as they can this season. It’s gonna be a good game on Sunday”. Chambers expects some serious fight from the East London side when they play them again especially given the sides are tied on 24 points and ran out a 2-2 draw last time they faced each other.
“For us over the last couple of games, we need to be more ruthless in front of goal, I think that’s cost us a few points in games recently and we’ve had chances where 1v1’s with goalkeepers, we’ve got to be finishing those chance”. Chambers will be looking for the squad to be capitalising on chances at every opportunity.
Prior to the poor run of form Reading have struggled with recently, their home form had been very much on the up, “We’ve built a real foundation which we’ve never had at the stadium and it’s important that we try and get back to that so that next season it can be the same.” so Chambers will be looking to continue that success as the Royals host West Ham and Manchester City in the coming week.
“Sanne is a different breed to everybody else in my squad. She’s very, very professional, she goes above and beyond to make sure that she’s fit, she’s strong. She’s in the gym everyday, some people would say that she probably does too much but I don’t think we’ve seen the best of her. I think it’s taken her a little bit of time to settle in, it’s the first time she’s been this far away from her family.” Chambers doesn’t believe we’ve even seen the best of Troelsgaard yet even so she’ll be one to keep an eye on in the squad next season certainly.
Contributions for next season
“I think the signings that we’ve brought in have been good. I think they’ve taken the season, in terms of, really understanding what Reading Football Club is, what I want day in day out.”
Reading will face West Ham United for the third time this season on Sunday 24th of April in a FA Women’s Super League fixture at the Select Car Leasing Stadium. Kick off is at 2pm with tickets available to purchase til 10am on the day here and if you can’t make the game, you can watch it live on the FA Player.