'We must take our chances against Manchester United' Hope Powell expects stern test for Brighton

Brighton and Hove Albion Women's head coach Hope Powell
Brighton and Hove Albion Women's head coach Hope Powell

Brighton and Hove Albion Women seek that finishing touch as they welcome Manchester United tonight to the People's Pension Stadium, Crawley (7.45pm)

Last time out, Albion beat fifth-placed Everton 1-0 in the WSL while Manchester United dropped two points due to a late penalty against Reading United. They will be keen to make amends after a 10-day break due to Storm Ciara.

Manchester United's Lauren James is the sister of Chelsea defender Reece James. Lauren has scored four in her last six appearances

Manchester United's Lauren James is the sister of Chelsea defender Reece James. Lauren has scored four in her last six appearances

The Seagulls have suffered defeats in their last two encounters with Manchester United, losing 2-1 in the Continental League Cup and 4-0 in the league back in November.

Kirsty Barton has been impressed by aspects of her team's performances but has called on her side to take their chances in front of goal.

The midfielder said: “We know their (Manchester United’s) strengths but, for us, it’s about maintaining our level of performance and being more consistent, because at times that has been our downfall this season.

“Taking our chances has been one of our problems this season. We’ve been getting a lot better at that in training, and it’s about putting that into practice in games.”

Manager Hope Powell echoed Barton’s comments, while also acknowledging United’s ability.

She said: “We recognise that we put in a really strong performance against them in the Continental Cup, and we have to try and replicate that. We’re playing quite well but we’ve got to find that level of consistency and convert those chances when we create them.

“We’re looking forward to it, but we’re under no illusions it will be a tough game.”

Lauren James, sister of Chelsea’s Reece James, has been identified by Powell as a potential threat with the 18-year-old scoring four goals in her last six games, while also bagging a brace against Albion in the FA Cup last season.

A win for the Seagulls could see them sit eighth and nine-points above the drop. United are fourth in the WSL and defeat to Albion would see them slipping further away from Arsenal who are third and 14 points ahead of the Red Devils.

Manchester City lead the way at the top with 36 points from 14 with Chelsea second on 35 points from 13.