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Bristol Rovers defender Vanessa Leat is hopeful that her team have embarked on another long F.A.Women's Cup run after her team's 4-0 victory over Stockport County in the Fourth Round on Sunday. The 20-year-old left back had an impressive game for Rovers, who now face Sheffield Wednesday in the last sixteen, and she felt that the heavy pitch at Mangotsfield did not make things easy for them against a battling Stockport side. "The conditions evened it out for both teams and made it hard to pass through the middle," Vanessa told Women's Soccer Scene after the game, "so we had a game plan to get the ball out wide and get crosses in, and that paid off today."
Playing against teams from a division below is always a potential 'banana skin', so what is needed to avoid a possible upset? "Confidence in your own ability and a battling spirit as well," she replies. "You know you're playing a team below you, so you must not let your game slip. You have to make sure you have to get on top of your game and keep the tempo high, and that's what we did today."
For Vanessa, the match marked the continuation of her comeback from an injury which kept her out of the game for two months. "I broke a bone in my foot in October," she says. "It's my second game back and I am really happy to be back. It's been frustrating sitting on the sidelines and watching."
Bristol Rovers have reached the semi finals in three of the last four seasons and Vanessa has taken part in all of those Cup runs. They are now just two wins away from the same stage again, so does she feel the team is ready to go one step further this time? "The feeling never changes," she smiles. "It's always as good as last year. We really want to go one better than last time but to reach the semi finals at least, and hopefully we can make the Final and make it a good one.
"We've got a great squad, the American and Dutch players have come in and given us great strength in depth. I think we've got a really good chance against the top teams this year, so hopefully they will take us seriously!
"The squad has gelled very quickly and we have all worked hard in pre-season. The attitude has been fantastic, we've all worked together and the outcome is that we're winning games now."
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