The Wokingham Paper

PREVIEW: Man Utd Women v Reading FC Women – Royals confident ahead of exciting trip

Becky Jane and Molly Bartrip
Molly Bartrip says Reading do not fear Man Utd (Pics by Neil Graham)

Molly Bartrip says there is no reason why Reading cannot go and win at Manchester United on Saturday.

All the talk over the summer has been focussed around United and their newly-formed side, with excitement rising following their win over Liverpool last weekend.

But the Royals sit top of the Conti Cup Group Two North following the opening round of fixtures after their 4-1 win over Durham Women at Adams Park.

Molly Bartrip played full-back against Durham

The winner at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday (12pm) will take control of the group, which also includes Everton, in a bid to secure a top two spot to move into the knockout round.

And Bartrip, who filled in at right-back for an injury-hit Reading on Sunday, is heading up north in confident mood.

“It’ll be a great challenge,” she told The Wokingham Paper.

“I think from the Durham game we can push on and improve now.

“We can have a good week’s training and then see how we go against Man Utd.

“I don’t see why we can’t go and beat them.”

She added: “We’ve got a few injuries but there’s some great faces in and around the team, some new ones have just mingled in straightaway and it’s a really good morale around the team.

“We can only keep going and working hard as a team and hope for a successful season like last year.”

Boss Kelly Chambers will again only have a skeletal squad to choose from as a number of key players work their way back to fitness.

Stars from last year in Rachel Furness, Remi Allen and Jade Moore are all still sidelined as well as the returning Charlie Estcourt and new signing Millie Farrow, while Maz Pacheco has been away with the England Under-20s.

Kelly Chambers says Man Utd have a lot of learning to do

That meant just four subs were named for the group opener, including teenagers Lily Woodham and Kiera Skeels. There was a further blow when Lauren Bruton was forced off during the win over Durham, but fortunately it was just a bout of cramp.

But Chambers will have some idea of what to expect against Casey Stoney’s United having played against them in pre-season.

“They’ve got an exciting young team,” said the Royals boss.

“They’ve very organised and even though their players have been in and around the WSL, they’re still a very young side and they’re going to be doing a lot of learning.

“They won’t be used to people like Durham that have been in the league for a long time, know how to defend and they’re physical, they’re tough and they’re not easy to beat.

“But it’s going to be an exciting game on Saturday and it’s nice to see clubs like that now in the women’s game and hopefully pushing it on and bringing it to another level.”

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