A FOOTBALL team is calling on its supporters to cheer the team to victory next weekend.

Albion Women’s bosses have challenged fans to beat their previous attendance record of more than 5,000 as they face Birmingham City at The Amex next Sunday.

Michelle Walder, the club’s non-executive director, said: “Whenever the women’s games have been played in bigger stadia, they rise to the occasion.

“They are competitive and ambitious, and they want to win.

“So, if you give them the setting to do that, they will rise to it.”

Kirsty Hulland, general manager of women and girl’s football at the club, added: “These players can be part of history, if we can try and get another record breaking attendance, whether that is for the league or the club, that is something we would ask for people to really rally behind.

“If we can beat our own club attendance and build from there, that’s what is important to us, to build our fanbase - and hopefully everyone will have a good time as well.”

Michelle said the fans meant a huge amount to the players, who often stay behind to meet supporters after games.

So, a record crowd could be a vital weapon in their key clash with Birmingham, who sit just one point above them in the Women’s Super League table.

She said: “There is a relationship between fans and players. The atmosphere, the noise and the setting, it is all part of the game.

“You would hope there is going to be a home advantage.”

Michelle said the club had a mix of fans, from die-hard season ticket holders to people who were knew to the game.

She said this meant the games offered something different to crowds.

She said: “What I love about the women’s game is that we don’t segregate areas.

“All the fans sit together and that gives it a real buzz and a community feel.

“The rivalry is absolutely there, but it is very inclusive.

“I think it’s great if you want to bring your family, it’s a wonderful opportunity to go to a big stadium and world class facilities to have a more relaxed experience.

“But, I think it will be a very exciting match, a close run thing.”

While the club hope for a win at the 30,666 seater stadium, their ambitions certainly do not end there.

Michelle said: “The club is completely different now, even to three years ago when I joined the board.

“We have got our ambition and vision as a club to be competing in the top four of the Women’s Super League.”

She said the women’s game had progressed as a whole and the sport had seen an upsurge in interest following England’s Lionesses’ run to the World Cup semi-final this summer.

Kirsty pointed to the national team’s game against Germany in front of a sell-out crowd at Wembley this evening with more than 86,000 tickets being sold.

But, despite this, there are still some misconceptions from the football community faced by staff and players at the club.

Asked which of these she would dispel, Michell said it was those surrounding the standard of the sport.

She said: “If you had asked me that when I first got involved with the sport I would have said that there is a perception that the matches are not as good or less competitive.

“I don’t hear that anymore and I have not seen that.”

She laid down a challenge to anyone who did not think this was the case.

Michelle said: “Come to a match, come and have a look at it and see if it’s a good, entertaining afternoon of football.

“I’m confident it is. Then engage with it in a different way.”

Kirsty added: “I think it’s just acknowledging that they are full-time athletes and professionals.

“Understanding the context of the game, where it is and where it is going, especially off the back of the women’s national team at the World Cup, it’s acknowledging them as professional athletes.

“I think people see the behaviours are changing.”

The team made the move to full-time in recent seasons and have seen a large number of changes.

Kirsty said: “The effect has been huge. We have reinforced our staffing in terms of player support and our head count has increased.

“The players have gone from training only two or three nights a week to now doing more than 20 hours a week so there is a lot of monitoring of workload that they have to do now.

“It is a whole different ball game now in what we look for in a player in terms of standards and technically.”

Albion Women will kick off against Birmingham at 2pm next Sunday following a nail-biting win on penalties against current WSL champions Arsenal in the Continental League Cup.

Tickets are available at £3 for adults or £1 for under-18s and over-65s.