Olli Harder is looking forward to kicking off West Ham United Women’s’ Continental League Cup campaign this evening, as his side face off against London City Lionesses at Princes Park.
The Hammers have been drawn in Group E alongside London City, Birmingham City and Brighton & Hove Albion, and will be looking to make a positive start in their opening match against the FA Women’s Championship outfit.
It’s also a chance for the east Londoners to extend their unbeaten run to five matches, which would be a new club record since the side turned professional in 2018.
Harder is looking forward to the challenge that the home side will pose but is confident that his team can get off to a good start if they play the way in which they have been in recent outings.
“It’s an opportunity for us to continue our unbeaten streak,” Harder told whufc.com. “If we play well and the girls are firing on all cylinders then we have a good chance
“London City are currently third in the Championship table, so they’ve started the campaign well and are pushing hard.”
I think London City are a solid team - they’re a close team that work hard for each other all the way through the game, so we know that we’re going to be in for a fight throughout the 90 minutes.
This isn’t the first time the Hammers have played against London City Lionesses this season, having played against them in pre-season. Mel Filis was on the scoresheet back in August in a 1-0 win for Harder’s team, but he admits that it will be totally different test this time around.
“Although we played against them in pre-season, I think we have to take that with a pinch of salt. It’s going to be a different team that we’re up against and our line-up won’t be the same.
“I think London City are a solid team. They’re a close team that work hard for each other all the way through the game, so we know that we’re going to be in for a fight throughout the 90 minutes.”
With this cup match coming three days after the 1-1 draw with Birmingham City in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League (WSL), Harder may decide to rest a number of players that have featured heavily throughout the campaign so far.
And Harder believes that his squad as a whole is well equipped to get the job done and get their cup campaign off to the best possible start.
“The important part of having a squad is so that you have the ability to rotate as and when you feel the need to. Everyone is always in our thinking, so for us it’s about sitting down and working out what the best options are for us in this particular game.
“From our angle, it’s about controlling as many aspects of the game as possible and allowing the game to open up and develop. Then when the opportunities arise, we need to be more clinical than we were on Sunday and make sure that we take our chances,” he added.
London City Lionesses v West Ham United kicks-off at 7pm on Wednesday 13 October.
Tickets are on sale via the Lionesses website, which you can visit by clicking here.
The match is not being streamed by either club, but we will be bringing you live twitter updates as well as the usual array of post-match reaction and highlights pieces on whufc.com.