Blackburn Rovers will on Sunday be aiming to put their away-day problems behind them as they travel to Chelsea with the chance of taking over top spot in the FA Tesco Women’s Premier League table.
Rovers will go top if they beat Blues and if current leaders Bristol Academy fail to win their home game against Watford – against whom Academy went down 6-2 in the reverse fixture back in October.
So there is a great incentive for the Lancashire club as they head for London; but they will have to show a marked improvement on their travelling form to date. They have won away only twice, at Charlton and Cardiff – the National Division’s bottom two clubs.
Striker Katie Anderton, whose four goals in the last three matches have taken her season’s tally to 23, is having another fine season but admits: “We’ve not really done ourselves justice away from home.
“There’s still time to put that right, though, and winning at Chelsea would be a tremendous boost for us – especially if the result at Bristol goes in our favour and we are top of the table on Sunday night.
“We’ve played twice against both Bristol and Watford this season and I rate both teams highly – it should be an excellent match there and the result is impossible to predict, but I think it will probably be a closer scoreline than when they played each other at Watford.
“We’ve not played Chelsea yet, but last season we met them four times including Cup games and they were all pretty close. We’re probably both stronger this year with the players we’ve brought in, and I expect another tough game on Sunday.
“We’ve nothing to fear, though – people might have thought we’d struggle in our second season in the National Division, but we’ve done pretty well so far and I believe we are good enough to go on and finish in the top three or four.”
Anderton herself is most certainly not suffering from so-called ‘second season syndrome’ after hitting 26 League and Cup goals last term, Blackburn’s first in the top flight after their promotion as the 2006 Northern Division champions.
She is well on course to break the 30-goal barrier and says: “It has been more difficult this season because teams have tended to mark me more tightly, so it’s great to have got so many goals and hopefully they’ll keep coming.”
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS