West Ham Women manager Beard is facing selection headache for Bristol trip
PUBLISHED: 12:30 13 December 2019
West Ham Women's manager Matt Beard is facing a selection headache for his side's trip to Bristol City in the Super League, writes Jacob Ranson.
For the first time since the former Liverpool manager's arrival a year-and-a-half ago he has a fully-fit squad to select from and he knows that he will have to make some tough decisions.
They head to the Stoke Gifford Stadium on Sunday for their final fixture of the 2019 calendar looking to go into the festive period on a high note.
"It's interesting, a month ago we had 12 fit players, tonight we had a full bench for the first time in my year and a half at the football club," said Beard after Wednesday's 7-0 win over Crystal Palace.
"This weekend I'm probably going to be leaving people at home because we're going to have a full squad to select from.
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"We've signed 11 players in two transfer windows and it takes time. We're still a new team, we're only halfway through our second season and sometimes people get carried away saying 'you have a lot of players coming in'."
One player who could have forced her way into the team is Canadian attacker Adriana Leon after impressing in the last two fixtures.
"I thought Adriana Leon was excellent tonight and against Liverpool on Sunday, she's responded really well to not playing, so for once I've got a selection problem with some tough decisions to make," added Beard.
"We knew the team we're building that we can compete with anyone on our day.
"We've got to win on Sunday, it's an important game for us, we then have a welcome break for Christmas which is good for the players to see their families."
Beard says players will now have to step up and compete for their places if he can keep everyone fit, adding: "The biggest issue for me over the first part of the season was the inconsistent team selection. When you've got so many new players and you're trying to get it to gel and there are constant changes sometimes it does break down.
"For me it's now about keeping everyone fit and now we have a full squad to choose from no one is guaranteed to play. That's a great thing for me as players have to stay on their toes, perform in training, and perform in games."