Kelley Blanchflower steps up to the mark to provide Cambridge United Women's cutting edge
Kelley Blanchflower is ready to thrive under the pressure of being Cambridge United’s main striker following the departure of last season’s top scorer, Mollie Coupar.
The U’s have struggled so far this season – they sit ninth out of 12 in the FA Women’s National League, Division One South East and goal-scoring has proved to be the biggest challenge.
Last season, United scored 60 goals in the league, the fifth highest. Coupar netted 13 of them and is one of three players to have departed the club for Southern Premier side MK Dons this season.
Coupar leaving the U’s has undoubtedly had an impact – the club have now scored the fewest amount of goals in the division this term (18).
However, Blanchflower, who has played the majority of the campaign as a lone striker, is doing her best to make up the difference.
United’s top scorer has netted six goals so far but is she feeling the weight on her shoulders?
“Yeah, a little bit. Mollie was obviously very, very good so to not have her was a massive blow,” she said.
“But, we all just try and chip in and it gives other people the opportunity to step up, so you’ve just got to do the best you can.”
The U’s finished the first half of the season on a high, defeating fourth-placed Leyton Orient 3-0 prior to the Christmas period.
That and the previous match against Ipswich came off the back of a six-week break due to a run of cup matches in the fixture schedule.
Despite the long lay-off without a game, Blanchflower believes it will prove beneficial heading into the second half of the campaign.
“We were still training three times a week, we were still turning up on Sunday mornings, we still wanted to keep that regime there,” she said.
“It was good in a way that we could work on things that we needed to work on. We worked on our fitness and it was kind of nice not to lose every game, knowing that we were turning up and we could build as a team together.
“We had a chat and said ‘this is what we want’ and ‘where do we want to be?’.
“So it was difficult to not play, but as a whole, I think it probably did us better than to play and keep losing.”