Aberdeen Women winger Francesca Ogilvie has opened up on the challenges of working in a squad low on numbers.
The Dons have a threadbare and young squad this season with manager Clint Lancaster bringing up several players from the under-18s.
In the 3-1 defeat to Partick Thistle on Thursday night, only three players in Aberdeen’s starting XI were over the age of 21, while all six substitutes were 18 or younger.
After the defeat at Cormack Park, Lancaster told the Press and Journal how his squad “needs help” and the transfer window in January “cannot come soon enough”.
ACL injuries have sidelined midfielder and on-loan goalkeeper Faye Kirby for the rest of the season, while club captain Nadine Hanssen is expecting her second child and can no longer play matches.
Ogilvie, who is vice-captain, admits being part of a light squad has been challenging, but says there has been no complacency, despite a current lack of competition for places.
The Dons return to SWPL action following Thursday’s defeat when they host Spartans at Balmoral Stadium on Sunday.
Ogilvie said: “I never go into a game thinking I am going to start, because it totally depends on how we train. If you train well, then you get in the squad.
“Even though we are low on numbers there is still that mentality.
“Of course, it is a lot of the same people starting week in and week out, but there has not been any complacency about starting games.
“But when you are on the pitch, you are thinking: ‘Maybe I shouldn’t go all out for the full 90 minutes, because we’ve got a small squad and can’t risk losing more players.’
“In the game against Partick Thistle, Eilidh (Shore) goes down with cramp, and you’re starting to think: ‘Does she play on, but then does that risk her getting an injury for Sunday?’
“When you have a small squad it is about trying to let that not impact the mental side of the game, but sometimes I think it does.”
More competition would boost Aberdeen squad in training and in games
Ogilvie hopes the Aberdeen squad receive a boost with the arrival of new recruits when the transfer window opens on January 1.
She said: “It’s not just a case of getting more numbers in, but it is very healthy to have competition in the squad.
“If you have more competition in the squad that drives up the standard at training because players are upping their game, which then means we’re going to play better in matches.”
Ogilvie believes the Dons cannot afford to dwell on the midweek loss to Partick Thistle and must focus on returning to winning ways against Spartans.
Aberdeen currently sit seventh in the SWPL with 15 points after 12 games, while their Edinburgh opponents are 10th with eight points.
Ogilvie said: “It was a frustrating game.
“I thought we did well in spells of the first half and we were leading 1-0, but then, 10 minutes before the break, we couldn’t play passes and it got scrappy.
“It was disappointing, but it is a quick turnaround for the Spartans game and we can’t dwell on the result.
“We spoke in the changing room about how we recently had a tough spell of losing games and then we got the win at Motherwell which we wanted to really kick on from.
“We didn’t do that against Partick Thistle, so we have to be aiming to get the three points against Spartans on Sunday, because we don’t want to go back into that points drought.”