With no Scotland game this week, after the postponement of the qualifying fixtures, and no league action either, it has been an opportunity to get some good work in at the training ground instead.
It comes as an extended period of much-needed preparation, after a rather testing time for Birmingham City Women. Two games in and two defeats has not been an ideal start and while some clubs will be relishing the return to competitive games, for us the time is extremely valuable to try and refine some areas.
Three weeks prior to the start of the season the Blues hadn’t appointed a manager as yet and it wasn’t so many weeks ago that I can remember writing about the depleted squad and the evident unravelling that appeared to be happening as an outsider looking in.
However, with a season that will see games come thick and fast, looking to the past for excuses won’t help and it isn’t allowed to be used as reason within the club’s renewed training environment either.
Whilst the 5-2 defeat on Sunday to Manchester United was disappointing, the improvement from the week before was substantial enough to suggest that things will continue to grow and develop in a direction that is positive.
Naturally as a defender, conceding goals is a priority I certainly take personally. Despite feeling good to be back on the pitch last weekend, there were sloppy moments that were deservedly criticised and the standards expected of me will be demanded in the matches ahead.
Elsewhere in the League last weekend, there were certainly team’s far worse off than us. Both West Ham and Bristol City took the heavy brunt of Arsenal and Chelsea’s attacking force. The final scores of 9-1 and 9-0 were a sight that doesn’t read too well in supporting the growth of the women’s top level.
For me, the FAWSL has the potential to be one of the best in the world. But from what I have learned so far, there remains an enormous gap between the top and the bottom half of the league. Not only in terms of budget but also in every aspect of the playing experience, from the kit and resources provided, to the respect and treatment from the organisation as a whole.
Whilst many within the game are fearful to be critical of it, in case it damages its fragile reputation, the reality is important to address.
Of course there will always be a difference in player salaries from top to bottom, some consistency is needed in other areas to strengthen the foundations and the standards across the league as a whole.
Christy Grimshaw is a name many at the top of the Scottish game might be unfamiliar with but that might be about to change.
The former Aberdeen midfielder opted to head to the US for her college education, where she continued her footballing journey alongside studying at Barry University in Miami.
The choice to go to an American college and follow the long-standing sporting pathways in the States was an option perhaps more prevalent a few years ago, before the professional opportunities started to expand closer to home.
Now 24, she has completed her studies and after a year with FC Metz in the French second tier, she signed for AC Milan during this summer’s transfer window.
Starting all three of their opening league games so far this season, she has also got off the mark with her goals tally. A double against San Marino helped her new side to a perfect start with three wins from three.
AC Milan have finished third in the past two seasons in Serie A since establishing their women’s first-team back in 2018.