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Women's Football News
Lincoln City will go into this Sunday's F.A.Women's Cup quarter final with Blackburn Rovers full of confidence that they can pull off an upset and reach the semi finals for the first time in their history.
The Lady Imps, who are locked in a Northern Division title battle with Nottingham Forest, are meeting top flight opposition for the first time this season and two of their squad, Mel Cook and England's newest international Kay Hawke, joined Lincoln from Blackburn during the summer.
"Both clubs know each other quite well," said Lady Imps manager Rod Wilson. "We both had some close encounters before Blackburn went up into the National Division, and of course we now have two ex-Blackburn players in Kay Hawke and Mel Cook. As always I expect this to be an entertaining encounter between the two teams.
"Blackburn, because of their National Division experience, are hot favourites to win on Sunday, and our girls will have to be on top of their game to go through to the semi final and a probable encounter with European Champions Arsenal. The draws have not been favourable for us and we are doing it the hard way, but at least it gives us the chance to see how far we have come and where we will have to improve when we are eventually promoted.
"So far this season we have been brilliant, and I definitely believe we have the best squad we have ever had. We are probably one left footer short, but overall I believe we have the best squad outside of the National Division. Since Christmas we have been superb both in attack and defence and team selection is very tough. As with every week there will be girls sitting on the bench who rightly feel they should be playing from the start, but as with every week we try to pick a team to win a particular game.
"I hope that on Sunday the youngsters are not too nervous and they can all relax and play their normal game. We have only conceded one goal since Christmas, and only four at home all season, and if the whole team can defend as a unit and restrict Blackburn to a few chances we will have a great chance. I always believe we can score and so a tight scruffy game would suit us.
"It may all depend on how our two ex-Blackburn girls play, Mel Cook in defence and Kay Hawke in goal. If Mel can marshal the defence and keep them calm and most importantly concentrated, then it may be up to Kay to pull off the saves to keep us in the game. I keep telling everyone she is the best keeper in the country and I think on Sunday she will show us just how good she is.
"When you first start playing football it is occasions like this that you dream about - Cup quarter finals and dare I say FA Cup semi finals. Relax girls; be confident, work hard, concentrate, and most important of all enjoy it.
"Special thanks from me goes out to all the coaches, staff and volunteers who help us outpunch our weight week in and week out. And I must not forget our fantastic sponsors, both corporate and individual, who make all this possible."
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