Small pitch will be a challenge, but we need to adapt – Sampson
BOSS Mark Sampson is telling Bristol Academy they will have to adapt if they are to come back from Lincoln with three points from their FA Women's Super League clash tomorrow.
Used to playing their home games on the best surface in the league at the Stoke Gifford Stadium – and a big pitch – the Vixens will find conditions very different at non-league Lincoln United's Ashby Avenue venue (2pm).
"Lincoln have adapted to it and made themselves very difficult to beat at home," said Sampson.
"It's a difficult surface and a smaller pitch than ours, and they have already had positive results there twice against Arsenal this season, as well as against Birmingham and Chelsea."
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Lincoln lie third in the WSL, while Bristol are fourth, and they are among four clubs currently locked together on eight points and separated only by goals difference.
"The league is incredibly tight and a good result there would make things very interesting and put us in a good position.
"But we have to ensure our performance levels are right if that is going to be the case," Sampson added.
Bristol will be without the versatile Jasmine Matthews, who is away on international duty with England Under-19s, and midfielder Molly Clark, who is still missing with a recurrence of a knee injury.
"We won't risk Molly over what's left of the first half of the season because we need to make sure she's right," said Sampson.
Striker Ann-Marie Heatherson is also a doubt after aggravating a shin problem in last weekend's 1-1 draw with Everton. "Annie will be touch and go," admitted Sampson.
Bristol will be looking to avenge their first home defeat of the season against the side who beat them 1-0.