Everton Women will be motivated and looking for redemption as they face Birmingham City this evening at St. George’s Park.

Everton’s motivation to win is two-fold, coming off of Sunday’s narrow defeat to Manchester City, and last month’s clash with Birmingham City that ended in a frustrating 1-1 draw. 

“While Birmingham did really well in our 1-1 draw at Walton Hall Park last month, we were disappointed with our performance,” said Everton manager Willie Kirk. “The players are still frustrated by it and that will be their motivator going into the game.”

Title contenders Manchester City only narrowly beat Everton on Sunday with an 81st minute goal from Keira Walsh. The hard-fought game has not knocked Everton’s hopes.

“The squad has taken a lot of confidence from the game and how we matched Man City for long periods.” Kirk said.

Important match against struggling Birmingham

Despite a strong start to the season, Everton have only won one of their last five WSL games. They will be hoping to secure three points against ninth-placed Birmingham – who haven’t won since November.

Birmingham’s last two games have ended in 4-0 defeats for the Midlands team.

But with all-important points up for grabs and relegation to avoid, they will be unlikely to go down without a fight, especially after holding off the Toffees once already this year.

“They will know they still have points to accumulate before they’re safe.” Kirk said of Birmingham City. “We need to make sure they don’t get any against us.”

Possible line-ups

Injuries in the Everton squad may see key players missing on Thursday. Defender Ingrid Moe Wold has been officially ruled out with a leg injury, whilst fellow fullback Danielle Turner is likely to start on the bench as she contends with a calf problem.

“Dan will probably start on the bench on Thursday to give her that little bit of extra rest, but that gives an opportunity to Poppy Pattinson, who did very well when she came on against Man City on Sunday,” said Kirk. “She will deserve her start.”

Everton’s line-up will likely rely on experienced players like Jill Scott and captain Lucy Graham to strengthen the midfield.

Birmingham manager Carla Ward will need England hopeful goalkeeper Hannah Hampton to perform well tonight if they want to avoid defeat. Up front, ex-Evertonians Claudia Walker and Lucy Whipp will be aiming to score against their former team. 

Looking forward

As well as the WSL table, both teams will have half an eye on the upcoming FA Cup fixtures. Both Everton and Birmingham play on April 18 when the FA Cup finally returns after lockdown stopped competition earlier this year. 

As last year’s runners-up, Everton will be particularly focused on a good FA Cup campaign.

The game kicks off at 7pm tonight and will be live on the FA Player.

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