Aston Villa manager Gemma Davies believes the club must embrace the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and make the most of the enforced break to the football season.

The Villans were unbeaten in the FA Women’s Championship and six points clear at the summit of the table with six games remaining before the global coronavirus crisis struck.

All women’s football is currently suspended and will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so, with the restart date under constant review with all stakeholders.

But while the outbreak appears to be bad timing for a team in full flight and 18 games unbeaten, 27-year-old Davies insists Villa will look to make the best of a difficult situation.

“I think the way we’re viewing the current situation is we’re seeing it as an opportunity, not a hindrance, and I think uncertainty and anxiousness around the situation actually creates really good energy,” she added.

“It’s given us a very rare opportunity in football to have a breather, take a step back and review where we’re at as a playing group.

“A lot of the talk within the group is about how we continue to sustain momentum. It has been disrupted but the foundations were laid a long time ago with this group and I think generally we respond quite well with uncertainty.

“This setback is something we’re more than comfortable with and we even think it will enable us to come back stronger, all we can do is control the things that we can.”

Even with the Covid-19 pandemic halting their charge towards the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, it seems only a matter of time before Villa secure promotion to the top division.

The step up to the full-time WSL is a big one but when asked if her side were ready to make that transition, Davies answered with the clarity you sense is helping fuel their success.

“We’re ready now. We’ve done a lot of work over the pre-season planning stage and throughout the season to prepare us for that transition, and that’s in all aspects,” said Davies.

“That’s across the operation, as a women’s department, that’s within our training logistics - when and where we train, and future-proof planning around our recruitment going into what hopefully will be a Super League season.

“We’ve been planning for a quite a while now. We are ready to make that transition and it’s really exciting but it’s come from planning week by week and the ability as a group of people to think slightly further ahead - I would comfortably say we’re ready now.”

The transition at Villa since Davies took over as head coach in June 2018, at the age of 25, has been stark, they finished ninth in the old WSL 2 before her appointment and sixth last season.

This season has seen the club come on leaps and bounds, winning 13 of 14 games to keep their noses comfortably ahead of second-placed Sheffield United at the top of the Championship.

And having announced England great Eniola Aluko as the club’s first-ever sporting director for women’s football in January, Davies is excited about what the future has in store for Villa.

“I know it sounds really cheesy but when I picked up the group in that first summer they were at a low point,” added Davies, also head of women’s football at the University of Birmingham.

“I tried to create an environment initially where everyone felt valued, that was the first objective for me, I needed people who felt wanted and worked hard.

“We had setbacks, the first game of the season against Man United (a sobering 12-0 defeat) and we went on a six or seven-game losing streak, that really tested us and myself an awful lot.

“But coming through it we developed a natural resilience that has really carried us through to this point now, you don’t forget those experiences!”