The SWPL 1 returns on Sunday, and it is clear that Aberdeen is in a relegation battle. Sitting bottom of the table, with just two points, it could be enough to make a squad feel hopeless. But there is a confidence emitting from the Aberdeen squad, and there are a few reasons why.
There Are A Few Teams That Could Be Dragged Into The Relegation Battle
First of all, Hamilton Academical is just one point ahead of them – so safety is still in their hands. But, Aberdeen’s Head Coach Stefan Laird actually feels that the relegation battle will not just be between the two clubs, saying that he feels “there are a few teams just above us that could easily be dragged into it.” With a gap of ten points behind sixth, that is not too much of an unreasonable claim, especially if Aberdeen and Hamilton picked up a couple of wins early on.
However, that is easier said than done. Attacker Megan Reid admitted that “the first half of the season hasn’t been our best.” Their last point came in a 0-0 draw with Stirling University on the 7th May, and since then, they have been involved in several heavy defeats.
A further look at the results shows the reason why both Laird and Reid are still feeling like they can escape the drop. They’ve only played four games at home in the league so far, and it is at home that their two points have been picked up – with the first coming in a 2-2 draw with Spartans.
Need To Pick Up Points At Home
Laird believes that the number of home games they still have to play, including the next three matches, will prove to be important, joking “teams probably like travelling up to Aberdeen as much as Aberdeen players like travelling away from home.” He emphasised the importance of picking up the points in their home games.
The mid-season break has allowed Aberdeen to focus on training, and how the players approached this period was praised by Laird. He stated that every player has been working “extremely hard”, and they have all returned “fitter, more confident, hungrier, stronger.” This was something that Reid confirmed, saying she felt “the team has a lot more confidence, everyone believes in themselves better, we’ve been working really hard so we’re ready to come out fighting.”
Their next fixture sees them host Stirling University at home, and Laird is aware of the threat they pose, praising their “great togetherness.” Despite Stirling being under a new Head Coach in Grant Scott, Laird said that “they’ve shown that over the years, they’ve got a great drive, work extremely hard, their coaches do a good job with them.”
But both Laird and Reid talked about their confidence in taking all three points, with Reid saying, “I think if we do what we do in training, and keeping working hard, we’ll come away with a win. I think the second half of the season is going to be a lot better than the first half.”