I am finding “confidence” and feeling so good” ahead of West Ham says Holloway
- Credit: Archant
Nailsea’s Rebecca Holloway says Birmingham City Women’s start to the season has filled her with confidence and why she is feeling so good ahead of returning to Super League action following the international break against West Ham United.
City finished second from bottom of the Barclays FA WSL last season, with the table decided on points per game because of the coronavirus pandemic, which saw Liverpool relegated to the FA Women’s Championship.
However, The Blues, who started the campaign with three consecutive defeats, have turned a corner and matched last year’s win total to currently sit in seventh place.
“It’s been really positive”, said Holloway, ahead of hosting the Hammers on Sunday.
“Even though we may not have got the results we wanted, if you compare it to last year, we are definitely in a lot better place than what we were. It’s been a positive start if anything, even though we have picked three wins out of five games.
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“It’s such a shame fans can’t be there, I feel that is what helps us, when you get the support from home, you perform better because you have got the backing and support from them.
“Obviously we have got to try and do that ourselves, it is always nice being at home, but I feel there is not such a difference at the minute playing home and away with the fans not being there.”
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And Holloway is also getting ready to play in her first Second City derby against Aston Villa, which will be the first time the two sides have met since the first round of the FA WSL Cup in 2018, on November 14.
“I have been told about it a lot. I know there’s a big rivalry between The Blues and The Villains, it’s obviously a shame fans can’t come because that is what makes it such a good rivalry,” she added.
“You have the fans chanting and supporting us and I feel that is what makes the rivalry because you have the battle with the fans.
“Obviously given the current situation we are going to just have to go out and put a game on for them to enjoy at home instead rather than actually being there.”
The journey to play football again has been a constant battle which saw the Football Association tell each club the 2019-20 season had been suspended on March 13.
A couple months later the FA cancelled the campaign which meant it wouldn’t be until July that Holloway would meet up with her teammates after spending the time in lockdown with her family.
“It was strange, I’ve got a younger sister, so I was trying to use her to do some sessions with, just to have someone play me a ball,” Holloway said.
“But it’s not the same when you are in a team environment and when we came back to training with the girls, especially when we were doing run downs, it felt odd at first, but it’s like riding a bike nothing changes, we picked up where we left off.
“It was just weird being at home for so long, that is what the difference was. None of us have had that opportunity to spend that much time at home. It’s never nice having a pandemic but it was nice in a sense as it was the longest time I got to spend time at home in the last four five years.”
With a second lockdown announced, starting on Thursday, the WSL will still continue having already put the safety procedures in place to ensure players and teams are safe.
“We still have to social distance as a club, we still get Covid tested once a week, we still have to follow the social distance guidelines when we can,” admitted Holloway.
“When we travel, we follow those guidelines and then whenever we make any types of stops, we wear the masks and use hand sanitizers.
“When we arrive at the stadium there are people who take our temperatures, our names and we have certain zones people are allowed in and then even in the changing rooms there are social distance measures. There is everything in place to make sure we are safe for everyone involved.”
Despite a lot of things happening off the pitch, on the pitch, Birmingham lost eight key players in the summer, including captain Kerys Harrop to Tottenham Hotspur and England international Lucy Staniforth to Manchester City.
And the departure of Marta Tejedor just days before the last season was suspended saw City hire Carla Ward as their new manager, with Holloway now becoming a key player and starting every game and playing every minute in the league this season.
“With everything so good I am starting to appreciate how lucky I am and being in the job I am in,” she admitted.
“When Carla came in we had a conversation, she spoke to each of the players to get to know everyone, and she asked what is your position?
“I said to her ‘I don’t know what it is’ because I came from America playing centre midfielder, I then came here and played centre-back, where I never played before, and had a bit of an identity crisis and she said ‘that can be our goal to find your true position’. Which is exactly what I wanted and now I feel like she has done that.
“I am now playing left-back, the position I was familiar with when I was playing for Bristol Academy and that is why I am enjoying football again because I am in a role where I am comfortable and starting to get my confidence back. I feel like I am contributing to the team and that is one reason personally why I am feeling so good.
“I guess I have her to thank for that – coming in and giving me a chance in a new role – and I feel I really am relishing the role now. I have got nothing but positive things to say.”