Sheffield United Women aren’t quite left pinching themselves at the thought of going top of the Women’s Championship on Sunday but it is certainly a position they didn’t expect to be in at this stage of the season.
The Blades host league leaders Aston Villa at the Proact Stadium, Chesterfield on Sunday knowing that a victory will take them top of the league on goal difference.
But the bottom line is, if we get past that, we have got another nine cup finals.Carla Ward
It marks the beginning of a big few days for Carla Ward’s side as they follow up this weekend’s league outing with an FA Women’s Continental League Cup quarter-final against Women’s Super League high-flyers Manchester City on Wednesday.
But manager Ward says that the Blades’ focus is firmly on Aston Villa and what could prove a crucial three points.
“We know we have got two big games but there is only focus on one game right now,” insisted Ward.
“There is no talk of the second game because, ultimately, the most important one is Sunday.
“So that is the focus at the moment.”
She added: “We are at the halfway point of the season, Sunday is huge, we know how big it is.
“But the bottom line is, if we get past that, we have got another nine cup finals.”
Villa are the only side that have beaten Sheffield United in league and cup this season.
The league leaders won 3-2 on the opening day of the Championship season before securing a 3-1 victory in the cup in October.
United finished fifth in last season’s second tier and Ward admitted that their initial aim was simply to better that this term.
Ward admits those targets have changed, however, following a near-faultless first half of the campaign.
“We never thought for one minute we would be in this position come Christmas,” she said.
“We are delighted. To be going and competing with a team who has gone and recruited well and spent well and to be going toe-to-toe with them like we are at the minute, I’ve got nothing but praise for this squad.
“They are a group that want to go and win the league and we are obviously delighted so far.”
She added: “The aim was to better we were last season, so that would be top four. Might that have changed now? Yes, absolutely. But that is something we discuss in house.”
Supporters can gain entry to Sunday’s league match and the cup clash with Man City for just £5, while concession tickets are priced at only £3.
Sheffield United season ticket holders can gain free entry by simply showing their season card on the gate.
“We are expecting quite a few and it is the perfect opportunity for people to come down and see us for the first time,” added Ward.
“It will be a great occasion and hopefully we can get the win.”