Gemma Donnelly says it has been a rollercoaster season for Rovers Ladies who travel to Liverpool this evening looking to arrest a poor run of form in 2021.

Donnelly says the Ladies side have mirrored the Rovers first-team in failing to find consistency of selection which has been hampered by Covid absences since the turn of the year.

Up to the new year Rovers were well placed in the Women’s Championship but winless in their last five matches, they have dropped two places to eighth.

They travel to a Liverpool side riding high in the table and searching for an immediate return to the Women’s Super League, but Rovers will be buoyed by a 0-0 draw at Leyland earlier in the season.

On the campaign so far, Donnelly summed it up by saying: “It’s been a rollercoaster.

“We didn’t start as well as I had hoped, but we picked up a little bit of form, went unbeaten for six games, riding high, broke for Christmas and have taken a complete dip in form.

“With the same squad, same everything, it’s been an up and down season.

“The solution is finding some consistency, but like Mr Mowbray, that seems to have eluded us at this club.”

The draw with Liverpool in November came during a run that included wins over London City, London Bees and Coventry United, as well as draws with high-flying pair Durham and Sheffield United.

But 2021 has resulted in a downturn of results that has stunted their momentum somewhat.

And Donnelly added: “I made the decision, we had a really intense first part of the season, we got to Christmas and I made the decision to give them a couple of weeks off to go and be with their families.

“They needed a break, I needed a break, and I needed a bit of downtime, and then when we returned a number of the girls had picked up girls, there was staggered re-starts and it really affected the continuity of the team.

“For that reason we’ve found it hard to find some consistency, and while I don’t want to make excuses because that’s football, but it has played a huge part in team selection and I think leading up to team selection we were the team that made the fewest changes.

“Post Christmas we’ve mixed and matched the team in order for personnel and fitness, and because of the losses, to try and find that winning formula again.

“It’s been a tough time.”

Last season was Rovers’ first in the Championship, after three consecutive years of winning the third tier title without securing promotion, but that was cut short owing to the outbreak.

It has impacted on the hours, and ability, of the squad to train, and with a number of players contracting the virus since the turn of the year, Donnelly says it has been hard to manage.

“It’s been tough, as everyone has encountered,” she explained.

“We’re so grateful to be in football and be back in training, that’s amazing, and we don’t take it for granted.

“However, it has been tough, the testing twice a week, they’ve become more frequent this side of Christmas, smaller groups, limited resources because we can’t be indoors, limited contact time, I’m not sure exactly how we were supposed to do that in a contact sport but we’ve found our ways.

“It’s been tough but it’s been the same for everyone so I’m not sure what their formula has been, but before Christmas we were stable in terms of our Covid outbreaks, we hadn’t really suffered any as such that impacted the squad.

“Post Christmas has been the time where we’ve picked up a number of those and I think that’s through the outbreak and also the consistency in the lack of games has been a problem for us, but they’re all things we have to deal with.

“We haven’t found any consistency and we’ve dropped down the table when we were doing really well up to Christmas.”

Rovers’ Ladies game at Liverpool will be streamed live on the FA Player, kick-off 6.30pm.