Gemma - 3 points is a must
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 11:55PM GMT, Saturday, 13 February 2016
Gemma Shepherd expects a tougher test on Sunday when the Charlton women’s team travel to Hornchurch to face relegation-battlers West Ham United.
The Addicks have been in top form so far in 2016, with five wins and a draw to their name so far and having netted 33 goals and conceded none.
They are coming off the back of a 10-0 SSE FA Women’s Cup third round victory over Newcastle United, with Shepherd scoring five and striker partner Kit Graham a hat trick.
Adding to that, Charlton were 8-1 victors last time the two sides met back in October with the Hammers having lost 7-0 to Blackburn Rovers last weekend.
However, Shepherd expects West Ham to be fired up for today’s London derby and believes it will be a more difficult game this time around, having caught them at the perfect time then.
She said: “I’ve seen a little bit of footage from their other games and I know they took Tottenham to penalties recently so they’ve obviously signed a few players and are playing with a bit more spirit.
“When we played them last time it was in the midst of a lot of their players walking out so that kind of result and scoreline was inevitable, really.
“We’re not going into it thinking it’s going to be a walkover – we don’t go into any game thinking it’s going to be a walkover. We’ll prepare as if we’re playing a team at the top of the league.
“We’re under no illusions that they’re going to be easy, they’ve got some international players in their team. We just want to keep the run going: the league is the most important thing to us.”
And the former Hammer, who has scored an incredible 80 goals in just 76 appearances for Charlton, also re-iterated the importance of the match, as her side attempts to keep the pressure on the top two.
A 0-0 draw against Cardiff a fortnight ago means Charlton must hope both Cardiff and Brighton slip up at least once if they are to win the FA Women’s Premier League title.
Therefore a win is imperative, and a Portsmouth victory against the Welsh side on the same day wouldn’t go amiss either.
“We can’t lose that game,” she added. “The pressure’s on until the end of the season. We’ve got to garner as many points as we can and hope other teams slip up, that’s the reality of the situation.
“I’ve played on that [Hornchurch] pitch enough times and I think it will be a decent enough surface for us to play football on.
“I think if we can play like we did on Sunday then I don’t think we’ll have any problems – although we’ll happily take a 1-0!”