Raynbird: We must up our game for Leeds trip

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Vanessa Raynbird has called on Pompey to up their game again when they travel to Leeds on Sunday.

The Yorkshire outfit are currently second in the FA Women’s Premier League national division.

They have suffered just two defeats this season and are recognised powerhouses in the Premier League.

The club are also close to earning Super League status – not something which can be earned through promotion from the national division.

It will be a daunting trip for Pompey but they have already won at Manchester City this season.

That showed the way forward, when playing on a quality surface, in a good stadium, against opposition with plenty of muscle.

Raynbird is confident her players will again relish the challenge.

‘Leeds are second in this league and close to getting Super League status,’ she said.

‘We will go up there and be positive.

‘Cardiff beat them 2-1 so that shows they are not unbeatable.

‘We are not bad on our travels but Leeds will be a good team.’

Pompey have been boosted by the news that key defender Lauren Murphy should be fit to make the trip.

The centre-back suffered a suspected broken arm late on in last weekend’s 3-3 draw with Cardiff.

Murphy went to hospital but it was bad bruising, rather than a break.

‘Her arm was stood on during the Cardiff game,’ said Raynbird.

‘She was in a lot of pain and we feared it could be a break of some sort.

‘Lauren has to wear a sling at the moment because it is badly bruised but we hope she will be ready to play by Sunday.’

Influential new signing Kaylee Schumann-Edwards is also close to a return.

The former Hawks midfielder had previously shone at centre-back for Pompey this season.

But injury has curtailed her progress in the past three weeks.

Winger Sarah Kempson is expected to be passed fit.

She missed out on facing Cardiff due to concussion.

Keeper Sadie Blakely is not yet ready to be recalled, though.

She is still suffering with a knee problem.

Roxy Roberts stepped in and did well in the 3-3 draw with Cardiff.

Raynbird said: ‘I have no worries about Roxy playing in goal.

‘She made some good saves in the first half against Cardiff.

‘Sadie is a great asset, though.

‘She was probably our best player in the first few matches of the season.’

Raynbird felt her team were not at their fluent best against Cardiff.

Kirsty McGee and Murphy put Pompey 2-0 up but Cardiff drew level.

Charley Wilson then scored for 3-2, before Cardiff equalised on 85 minutes.

Raynbird said: ‘We were a bit sloppy in defence and gave away poor goals – that is unlike us.

‘We are a lot better than we looked on the day.’