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Luton Town captain Carly Cowell admits her side is relishing the prospect of taking on Blackburn Rovers in the Fourth Round of the F.A.Women's Cup this Sunday.
The central defender will lead her side into the biggest game in their history and she told Women's Soccer Scene that they are ready to take on their top flight opponents. "As a team, we are excited about the game," said Carly. "We were a little disappointed that it was called off last week and are anxious to play the game as it is a great opportunity for us to play against a Premiership side."
The South East Combination title chasers earned the right to play Blackburn after an excellent 1-0 win against Brighton & Hove Albion, a result which earned the Bedfordshire side the Team of the Round award. "It was a good performance, the result didn't really show how well we played," says Carly. "I felt we were stronger for most of the game, we just pushed and pushed and eventually we got our goal. We were glad to come off with the win as it was a chance for us to show that we can play at that level."
Now Luton must face Blackburn for a place in the Fifth Round but they will not be too daunted by the prospect. "To be honest, we haven't heard too much about them, but that will be a good thing as we won't be too worried about reputations," admits Carly. "I do know though that they have a top striker in Katie Anderton and I will be coming up directly against her. I'm really looking forward to playing against her as it will be good for me to see how I can cope with a player at that level."
Carly also points out that Luton have a potential match winner of their own. "Rebecca Kane has banged in a lot of goals for us this season and having her gives us a chance," she says. "We also have a good back line and our defensive record is one of the best in the league so far. There is a lot of pace throughout the team and our tally of goals has almost doubled already."
The reward for the winners on Sunday is a tie with Millwall Lionesses and Carly feels her team can draw inspiration from their shock win over Doncaster Rovers Belles. "We'd just love to progress to the next round so we would have taken any team," she says. "But Millwall have proved that the top teams can be beaten and shocks do happen - look at the F.A.Cup Final last season where Portsmouth played Cardiff, which no-one could have predicted, so it can be done."
Luton are currently involved in a tight battle at the top of the South East Combination with a number of teams in contention. "We'll be keeping our focus on the league," says Carly. "We have Welwyn Garden City next week so that will be two tough matches in a row. I think the race could go down to the wire and our nearest rivals are probably Welwyn and Enfield.
"We have got a good opportunity to finish top this season. We have improved a lot this year and are tighter as a unit, the attitude of the team is brilliant. We've got a young side but have matured together, a few new 16-year-olds have come through this season but they have all fitted in well.
"The girls are hungry for success and want to move forward, we all have the same desire and vision. We are also very lucky to have two coaches in Dave Baker and Noel Blackwell who believe in us and want to help drive us forward and keep progressing."
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