Brian Sørensen’s Everton will host Reading, in the Women’s Super League, at Walton Hall Park on Sunday.
Both sides will be looking for three points as they return from the winter break, in the first weekend of WSL football.
The last time the two sides met was in a league encounter last February in which Reading defeated Everton 2-1.
Five points separate the two teams going into the game, so the match-up could provide Reading a platform to gain ground on the teams above them, as they look to close the gap after a disappointing start to the season.
Everton are currently 5th in the WSL, just three points behind West Ham, a win could see them move level on points with the Hammers.
Everton started the season with a defeat to West Ham, before then demolishing Merseyside rivals Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield.
Since then, ‘The Toffees’ have picked up four wins, but have struggled to take any points off the teams above them (Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and West Ham).
Sørensen’s side comes into the game after a shock 1-0 defeat to Championship side Durham in the Conti Cup in December. They will be hoping to put this aside when they welcome the Royals to Merseyside.
Everton will be without loanee, 19-year-old Gio Queiroz who has been recalled by her parent club Arsenal.
Kelly Chambers’ side currently sit 10th in the WSL joint with Brighton who have two games in hand. Reading look to be safe from relegation as Leicester City seem likely to go down as they are yet to pick up any points.
Reading will hope that the second half of the season is more successful than the first, after five straight defeats in all competitions. ‘The Royals’ will hope that they can take the momentum of their last few fixtures of 2023 into the new year.
Reading’s last game was an away fixture to Championship side Coventry City in the Conti Cup, Reading secured all three points in a dominant performance.
Chambers' side travelled to league leaders, Chelsea in their last league game of the year. A game which, despite the result, will likely provide belief and optimism in the Reading camp. Reading were close to a comeback as they fought to get two goals back from 3-0 down.
Despite positive performances, Reading have struggled this season and it’s fair to say some questionable refereeing decisions have gone against them and taken points off them this season. The Berkshire side will hope to put this misfortune behind them as they search for 3 points on Merseyside.
Ones to watch
Everton keeper Emily Ramsey will stand in the way of any Reading attacks. The England U23 international was recently nominated for the December WSL Player of the Month award. Ramsay, on loan from Manchester United, has a save percentage of 76% and has only had 3 goals scored against her.
Another one to watch for ‘The Toffees’ is 21-year-old Jess Park. Park has been on the radar of Lioness boss Sarina Wiegman. Park earned her first call-up to the Lionesses in September 2022 and went on to make her debut against Japan in November, scoring within 90 seconds of coming on. The Manchester City loanee will hope to continue her impressive performances for club and country as she looks for spot in the World Cup squad.
Everton defenders will need to be cautious of Reading midfielder Rachel Rowe. The experienced Welsh international has featured in all of Reading's games this season, scoring twice. Both goals came in a dramatic 2-1 win over Leicester City. Rowe scored in the 90th and 92nd minute to secure a vital three points for the Royals.
Lily Woodham is another one to watch for the hosts. The 22-year-old has been playing in midfield this season and has been recognised for her constant work rate and ability to break up play.
How to watch
The match kicks off at 1 pm (GMT) and is available to watch on the FA Player.