Speaking ahead of Charlton Women’s encounter with Crystal Palace, head coach Karen Hills touched on her first week at the helm, the all-important south London derby and looked ahead to the conclusion of the FA Women’s Championship season.
“It’s been a really enjoyable week,” revealed Hills. “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind but I’ve really enjoyed it. The players have been very welcoming. We had an opportunity to see them play in a friendly game on Sunday - lots of players got opportunities to have some minutes which was good for me to be able to see the current squad. The staff here at the training ground have been very accommodating, very warm and welcoming. It’s exciting times.
“The players are all doing exceptionally well, they’re all working really hard. The group is so together which is going to be really important for the next five games. The atmosphere is good, the environment is good, and the culture is fantastic so I’m really excited. I think they’ve been excellent in this last week.”
The 45-year-old, who enjoyed an 11-year spell in charge of Tottenham Hotspur’s Women’s team between 2009 and 2020, admitted she has grown accustomed to facing the Eagles.
“I’ve known Crystal Palace for many seasons now, obviously playing against them when I was managing over the other side of London [at Tottenham Hotspur]. Ultimately, we know it is going to be a tough game. They’ve got some fantastic players that I know very well and they’re going to be performing to the level that they have done this season, however, we’re in a good shape.
“We know it is going to be tough, we know what Crystal Palace are about, and obviously it’s a derby game. Hopefully it will be an exciting game and we’ll be able to put in a performance we can be proud of.”
The Addicks currently sit in ninth-position having played the least number of games in the division, and have the opportunity to go two points behind Crystal Palace in eighth and six points clear of bottom-placed London Bees - an opportunity which Hills says her squad are savouring.
“We are definitely looking forward to a strong end to the season, I think there is a lot to play for. We are still in that relegation fight - we have still got things to do on and off the pitch.
“The players are in good shape, we’ve got a good plan, and we’re going to go and give everything in every single game. I’m sure the players are relishing the opportunity to finish the season on a high based on their current form.”
Article by James Waller