By Joe Brewin
Laura Harvey is confident Arsenal Ladies can pick up from where they left off after an Olympics to remember for her Great Britain stars.
Harvey’s side resume their Women’s Super League campaign with an unbeaten record and a five-point advantage over closest rivals Everton, and could extend their lead again on Sunday.
No fewer than six Gunners were part of the Team GB squad that reached the quarter-finals at the London Games and Harvey wants her experienced stars to hit the ground running when they return to domestic action.
“I think it could help the girls,” she told Arsenal.com. "It will be tough for them to just come straight back into the league programme because it is a completely different environment to the Olympics.
“That is something they are going to have to manage individually and they all had different journeys throughout the tournament. Steph is obviously on cloud nine at the moment because of the games she had and the goals that she scored but now it is about turning our attentions back to Arsenal.
“I have to manage the players individually to make sure they are ready for the next chapter.”
Standing in the way of Arsenal and a possible eight-point lead on Sunday evening are an Everton side in second place - although they have played one game more than the Gunners.
Harvey’s side have edged both previous encounters against the Toffees this season but the Ladies manager remains wary of the threat posed by Mo Marley’s side.
“Our games against Everton are always tough and they have been our rivals for four or five years now,” she said. “They are constantly trying to pip us to every competition, although thankfully of late we have won most of them.
“From the two games we have played this season I think we have been the better team but again they have always been tight. When you go away there you always know it is going to be a tough game.
“I don't think it is a test to keep the focus because this club and these players prize themselves on winning football matches. Irrelevant of what the league says, that is what every target is and three points are always the priority.
“This weekend will be no different but until we get the mathematical clarity that we have won the league, we won't stop pushing. We are unbeaten in the league and we want to keep that up as well. There are a lot of things these players want to achieve and the first is beating Everton on Sunday.”
Harvey has an almost fully-fit squad to select from, with Jayne Ludlow having re-joined training this week after a lengthy injury lay-off.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 17 Aug 2012