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Tranmere Rovers striker Jodie Taylor firmly believes her team can put their relegation battle behind them and reach the last four of the F.A.Women's Cup when they take on Birmingham City in their quarter final at Heswall this Sunday.
The highly rated young striker told Women's Soccer Scene: "I'm looking forward to it, it should be a good game. Our two league matches were very close and this should be no different, and I believe we've got a chance of winning."
It has been a struggle all season for Tranmere, with a number of key players having departed during the summer and, despite the efforts of manager Louise Edwards, the Birkenhead side are on the verge of being relegated. Jodie reluctantly accepts this, before offering an alternative version of the old cliché. "We're looking pretty much like going down, so now we can concentrate on the Cup. There is still a slight chance we can stay up, but we have a young team with an average age of just 17. In fact, I'm only 17 myself, and I'm the fourth oldest player in the squad!
"It's been a difficult season for the team. I came back from a broken leg in September and it was like playing for a different team as we'd lost a lot of players."
"We've done well really, it's just because we're all so young and lack experience that we have struggled at the top level. I think that going down might give the young players more confidence and, if Tranmere can keep the players together, we'll have a really good side in a couple of years."
Fulham's defeat by Charlton Athletic in the last round has given the Cup a more 'open' feel, although there are some big names still left in, and increased the other clubs' hopes of going all the way. Jodie insists that Tranmere are one of those clubs: "Fulham going out has opened the door, with the right draw we could get to the Final. We must concentrate on Birmingham first, but I definitely think we have a chance. Playing at home, with some support behind us, will definitely help the girls."
Jodie was a member of the Tranmere side which reached the semi finals two years ago and, after winning one England under-17 cap, was selected for the under-19s and looked set to challenge for a UEFA Championships place before disaster struck. She broke her leg in a league match against Fulham just days after her call-up, but a year later she has made it back - she has been selected for a training camp later this month.
"I'm made up!" she smiles. "I can't wait for that. I found it hard with fitness when coming back from my broken leg, as I had missed all of the pre-season training and had to be thrown in at the deep end. I think I'm playing okay and am happy with the goals I've scored but I'm not quite back to how I was before the injury, that will come.
"I'm hoping to make the under-19s squad and, who knows, the season might yet have a happy ending."
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