Karen Hills: "We just need to focus on ourselves"

Karen Hills says her Charlton side need to concentrate on themselves as they bid to maintain their remarkable run of form this weekend against Watford at The Oakwood.

The Addicks cruised into the fifth round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup last Sunday with a 6-0 victory at Plymouth Argyle, extending their unbeaten run to eight games and recording a seventh successive clean sheet in doing so.

“I’m just really pleased that we’ve managed to get ourselves into the next round of the FA Cup, which was the main goal,” said Hills. “It was a long weekend but lots of opportunity to get in and around the group off the field, which is always nice. 

“I thought they performed magnificently. I’m really pleased with the goalscorers. Ultimately it’s another performance that we can be proud of.

“We’ve got a fantastic squad so the training has been of a very, very high standard. The competitiveness is always there. All we want to do is just keep driving forward and taking all of that practice on the training pitch into the games. We’re actually executing that really, really well at the moment and the players are seeing progress. 

“Obviously, as players, you want to be proud of keeping clean sheets but at the same time you want to be creating and scoring goals, and thankfully at the moment we’re doing that.”

The Addicks recorded a 4-0 triumph over Sunday’s opponents Watford in the reverse fixture last October before defeating the Hertfordshire side 5-0 in the Continental Cup two months later, though Hills was quick to acknowledge that Watford are a much-changed side now under interim manager Gifton Noel-Williams.

“We’re going to have a different way of playing and a different game plan, because they’ve got a new manager that’s come in, who is going to be with them until the end of the season,” explained the boss. “He’s already looked to implement his changes and they seem to be in good form. They’ve obviously signed a couple of players within the January window as well, so we’re quite mindful of those. 

“However, we just need to focus and concentrate on ourselves. It will be a very different game to the last couple of games that we’ve played - I have no doubt about that. As long as we keep doing what we know is working for us and just ensuring that the players are aware of all of their strengths. 

“Hopefully the fixture will be an exciting one for fans to come and watch, obviously it’s at our home ground and we’re always even more proud to try and keep that clean sheet. That’s something that we’re really keen to do and ultimately we want to win the game.”

Charlton’s LGBTQI+ supporters’ group, the Proud Valiants, recently visited the Addicks’ Pippenhall training base at Sparrows Lane ahead of the club’s inaugural Football v Homophobia weekend, and Hills has stressed the significance of increasing awareness. 

“I think it’s really important that we’re helping to raise that awareness,” she said. “We were really pleased to have the Proud Valiants. They delivered their presentation extremely well, it was very well received by the players and we look forward to seeing them at many more games.

“It’s a big weekend for Charlton,” added Hills. “You’ve got the men playing on Saturday and you’ve obviously got us playing on Sunday, so it’s an opportunity to come and really support the Charlton family. We’re playing some attractive football with success on the pitch. Obviously, we want fans to come and watch that because the players deserve it. Ultimately this is a game that’s not going to be easy, and we need that extra bit of support from the crowd which we do get. We want to hear them. I know the players really appreciate it and so do the staff. Get yourself down there and it will be an exciting game!”

Karen Hills' side host Watford Women at The Oakwood in Crayford on Sunday. Simply click here to purchase your ticket for Sunday's game.

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