Birmingham City Women manager Scott Booth spoke to the press on Friday ahead of his first home match this weekend.
The Blues will be playing at St Andrew’s this season, sharing the stadium with the men’s team. Booth started his reign with a narrow defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last week and will face Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday.
Booth discussed the quality of Hope Powell’s team as well as giving a brief injury update.
1: Arabella Suttie will likely miss out
“We’ve got an injury to Arabella at the moment. She took a knock in training, so we are waiting to find out more.”
Birmingham’s newest recruit Arabella Suttie will likely have to wait to make her home debut. The 18-year-old defender signed for Blues on deadline day, but has already picked up an injury. Suttie made her debut for Birmingham in their defeat to Spurs last week, replacing Rebecca Holloway for the final four minutes of the match.
Northern Ireland international Holloway will continue in her familiar left back berth, with Blues having no other new injuries.
2: Playing at St Andrew’s is massive for the club
“We are looking forward to it. It will be a tough game. It will be nice to play our first competitive game at St Andrew’s. Playing in front of your fans, friends and family makes a massive difference to the players.”
Birmingham are now calling St Andrew’s home, having spent the last five years playing at Solihull Moors’ Damson Park. They are becoming the third Women’s Super League team to share their stadium with their men’s team, alongside Reading and Leicester City.
Last season saw Blues go to war with the league over Damson Park. Following a match with Aston Villa being called off just five minutes prior to kick off, the league intervened and ordered Blues to move. They played their next two fixtures at St George’s Park before being allowed to finish the season in Solihull.
3: Brighton pose a massive threat
“Brighton are a good side. They got their goals against West Ham and looked fairly comfortable after that. They are coached really well so it will be a tough game.”
Hope Powell’s Seagulls finished sixth last season and claimed some huge scalps along the way. They beat both Manchester United and Chelsea, with the latter winning Powell the LMA Performance of the Week award. Brighton have added even more quality to their team this summer, adding the likes of Danielle Carter and Rinsola Babajide to their ranks.
Booth added that he expects Brighton to “challenge for the top spots” this season. The Seagulls started their WSL campaign off with a convincing win over West Ham United and will be looking to maintain their form against Blues.
4: Blues need to adapt and quickly
“We have to learn and adapt quickly. We are getting there in terms of defence and midfield. We will see where we are at the end of the match, but we want to get forward more than we did against Spurs.”
Birmingham have long had an issue in front of goal. They were the joint-lowest scoring team in the league last season with just 15 goals, tied with local rivals Villa. Over the summer, they lost top scorer Claudia Walker, replacing her with Irish international Sarah Ewens. The 29-year-old striker arrived from Celtic after scoring 64 goals for the Hoops.
Against Tottenham, Blues struggled to have much time on the ball. They had just 33% of possession and seven shots, with only two of those being on target. Birmingham were penned inside their own half all match and will need to improve quickly in order to avoid another relegation battle.