Birmingham City Ladies face 'most un-neutral final', says David Parker

David Parker took Birmingham City Ladies to the Champions League semi-finals in 2014
David Parker took Birmingham City Ladies to the Champions League semi-finals in 2014

Birmingham City Ladies manager David Parker says that having to play Manchester City Women at their own home in Sunday's Continental Cup final will be "like walking into the lion's den".

Blues must play at the Academy Stadium, where Manchester City beat Chelsea to win the Women's Super League title in front of more than 4,000 people.

"It will be the most un-neutral final you'll see in football," said Parker.

"Everything is against us, like walking into the lion's den," he told BBC WM.

"The FA opened it up to every club and ground in the country to bid on it and Man City put together the best bid.

"But they should have maybe discounted the WSL 1 grounds, especially the likes of a Man City, who have got half a chance of getting there.

"They've gone to Rotherham before. That fits the bill."

Blues relishing underdogs role

Manchester City will start as favourites after winning their first WSL title without losing a match.

They did it with a game to spare too, their final match not being until 30 October against Parker's Blues, who they beat 2-0 at Damson Park in May in this season's first league meeting between the two teams.

"Everyone will always write us off," said Parker. "But we've always done well with the underdog tag. In women's football, we're big Birmingham City. We're big dogs.

"We've been Champions League semi-finalists (in 2014) and we're one of the top 13 clubs in Europe. On the continent we've got a better reputation than we have in our own domestic league for what we've achieved.

"We're little Birmingham City against one of the big four, with lots of resources. There's still a massive gulf between the likes of us, City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.

"But we've always had ambitions. I always thought this was possible. Now we have got to grab it with both hands."

Isabelle Linden
Isabelle Linden joined Birmingham City Ladies from FFC Frankfurt in May

Blues Ladies like a family - Linden

Birmingham's side has changed greatly from the one that beat Chelsea to win the FA Women's Cup in 2012, their first major trophy.

But German striker Isabelle Linden, one of a clutch of mid-season foreign signings, says they are itching for more silverware.

"Everyone knows how good Man City are," she told BBC WM. "But it is a one-off game. If we have the best day and City do not, then we can win.

"I waited so long for a final, then I had the national final with Germany in 2013. And we have a great team spirit here. I really hope we can celebrate together after the game.

"It feels a bit like family here now. The girls are very nice to me. It is different to Germany. In the next three years, English football will be much better.

"It is a lot more tactical in Germany but players here are faster and I like that. That is the main difference to German football."

Interviews with BBC WM's Rob Gurney.

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