Birmingham City Women are set to face off against Brighton & Hove Albion in their first match of 2021.
Both sides had their previous games suspended, with the Seagulls returning two positive COVID-19 tests, meaning seven of Brighton’s squad were self-isolating. As for Birmingham, an “unprecedented” run of injuries left them with just 10 available players and therefore unable to field a team.
Birmingham manager Carla Ward has confirmed the Blues will be able to field a team on Sunday. New signing Veatriki Sarri will be in line to make her debut after signing from Sheffield United, however another forward has left the club with Destiney Toussaint leaving to join Coventry United. This means the Blues have just 17 senior players when all are fit, not enough to fill a typical matchday squad.
As for the visitors, Hope Powell has confirmed that she will have to call on academy players for the game. It is unclear what players will be available as the club have not announced any names for players who are isolating. Predicting their line-up therefore is entirely guesswork.
Birmingham City: Hannah Hampton, Harriet Scott, Georgia Brougham, Rachel Corsie, Rebecca Holloway, Christie Murray, Connie Scofield, Mollie Green, Veatriki Sarri, Jamie Lee-Napier, Claudia Walker
Aside from the now departed Destiney Toussaint, this side is identical to the one that slumped to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal last time out. The simple reason for this is that Birmingham simply do not have many players to choose from. Their squad is paper thin so it is either this exact line-up or they will be almost unable to play.
Brighton: Cecilie Fiskerstrand, Felicity Gibbons, Victoria Williams, Rebekah Stott, Maya Le Tissier, Megan Connolly, Danielle Bowman, Aileen Whelan, Inessa Kaagman, Elli Brazil, Rianna Jarrett
This Brighton line-up is totally speculative. Some members will be dropping out in favour of academy players and the two players drafted in, Connolly and Jarrett, are the result of inferring from Brighton’s social media posts.
Ones to watch:
Birmingham have relied on star striker Claudia Walker time and time again this season. The English forward has bagged five goals in eight games and is one of the few players to have kept their fitness up to play every game for the Blues this season.
As for Brighton, their ever-present midfielder Inessa Kaagman is their most exciting player. She is the top scorer for the Seagulls, netting three times in her ten appearances and Hope Powell will undoubtedly be relying on her star to shine once again.
Sunday will be the third time these sides have met this season, with the two currently being tied on one win each.
The Seagulls drew first blood on the opening day with a 2-0 victory at the Broadfield Stadium. Goals from Kaagman and Megan Connolly secured the three points for Brighton, but Birmingham struck back just three weeks later in the FA Women’s Cup. The Blues secured victory on penalties in the belated quarter final following a 2-2 draw in normal time.
Where to watch
The match will not be broadcast on TV but will be available to stream for free via the FA Player. Kick-off is at 2PM.