Doncaster Rovers Belles v Reading: Royals visit ‘derby and cup final rolled into one’

Maz Pacheco. The FA via Getty Images

Maz Pacheco. The FA via Getty Images

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Maz Pacheco says Saturday’s potentially do-or-die clash with Reading is a derby and cup final rolled into one.

Doncaster Rovers Belles are without a point from ten FAWSL1 games and are staring relegation back to the second tier in the face.

But victory against their nearest rivals at the Keepmoat Stadium this weekend would cut the gap between the two teams to three points - and Belles have three games in hand on the Berkshire club.

However, matches are now running out and on-loan left back Pacheco accepts that the Belles must return to winning ways sooner rather than later.

“The mood in the camp is very positive,” she said.

“We know now that we need to graft in the next few games and we all believe we can stay up.

“It’s a derby game by far [against Reading]. We’re going to fight for that win.

“From now on, it’s going to be pretty much a cup final every game for us and I know we’ll put it in to succeed.”

Pacheco, 18, has been quick to make an impact in Doncaster – winning several woman of the match accolades and scoring her first goal for the club in the 4-1 defeat to Sunderland last month.

“To score was a proud moment for me but to get the goal for the girls was some time coming,” she said.

“I’m really glad I did it for the team. Hopefully we can get more goals in the other games.”

Meanwhile, in an open letter to fans, skipper Leandra Little wrote on the club website: “We know it can’t have been easy so far this season as a Belles fan - we haven’t given you much to cheer about...yet!

“Each and every single one of us is going to be giving absolutely everything out on that pitch in the six remaining games we have left to play in the league.

“We are working hard in training and looking at every aspect that could improve our performance to ensure we pick up some points and move up the table.

“Thank you again for your support, we really do appreciate it.”