KIRSTY BARTON believes Albion can close the gap to the top four if they can continue to perform as they have done in their last few games.

Albion sit ninth in the WSL on 12 points as they prepare to host fourth place Manchester United at the People’s Pension Stadium tonight.

Despite United being five places above them in the table they are only seven points better off than Albion.

Barton said: “It is a very competitive league and anyone can take points off any team.

“That is the great thing about football - the element of surprise is always there.

“It is a gap, and in this league it is considered to be a big gap, but hopefully if we keep going forward the way we have been in the last couple of games and pick up some more points, then that gap will start closing.”

The Seagulls head into the game as the underdogs.

But Albion did go close to getting a result in their last meeting against United in the Conti Cup quarter-finals when they lost 2-1 away last month.

Barton is confident Albion can do even better this time round.

She said: “In any game we always believe that we can get something out of it and the last performance against United was really positive.

“Going into the match off the back of the Everton game, if we can perform the way we have been then, hopefully, we can look to get the three points.”

She added: “We know their strengths, which we have known from day one.

“For us it is just about maintaining our performance and keeping our consistency, because we all know that consistency this season has been our downfall, and in front of goal we need to be more clinical.

“We need to do all the right things, like we did in the last game when we were really unlucky not to get a result.

“We just need to focus on our own performance. We know both their strengths and weaknesses and, if we keep our consistency going from the last few games, then we have got a really good chance.”

One thing Albion have struggled with is finding the back of the net.

The Seagulls have scored ten goals in 14 games so far in the WSL this season.

On a positive note, they have had six different scorers in the league.

But Barton admits Albion need to be more effective in front of goal.

She said: “The goals have been coming from all positions really, but our consistency in front of goal is one of our downfalls at the moment.

“We have been practising it in training and in training we are getting a lot better, so now we just need to convert that into games.

“It can be a part of it when you don’t get so many opportunities in a game and then that one does come, it is like I have to score.

“Maybe the more opportunities we do get, the more composed we will be in front of goal.”

Albion will head into the game fresh after their match on Sunday away at Birmingham was called off due to Storm Ciara being in full effect.

Barton said: “Obviously it is really frustrating, especially when you have already got there and prepped for the game, but unfortunately it is one of those things. But with the weather forecast, it was in the back of our mind.

“It was frustrating as we were coming off the back of a win but we have got a game now so it is not like we have to wait another week.”