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Queen's Park Rangers are facing up to their biggest challenge of the season so far as they take on Northern Division leaders Sunderland in the Fourth Round of the F.A.Women's Cup. The South East Combination side have been reserving their best form for Cup ties and midfielder Beth Demery is looking forward to the opportunity to try and claim a second Premier League scalp at Brook House on Sunday.
"It's going to be an experience as we haven't played them before," Beth told Women's Soccer Scene. I hear that Sunderland are a half decent side and it will be good to see how we shape up against them."
Rangers reached this stage of the competition with an excellent 4-1 victory over Enfield Town in the Third Round and Beth is confident that they can take this form into the Sunderland match. "On recent performances, especially the Enfield game, I think we can cause an upset," she says. "They are obviously the favourites but, with home advantage, we feel that we can win the game.
"We've been producing our best form in the cup this season, the girls really raise their game for it and are really up for the cup."
This is the furthest that Queen's Park Rangers, under their present name, have progressed in the F.A.Cup but the club is actually former winners of the trophy under their old name of Wembley. "The cup runs have really helped our season progress," admits Beth. "At the beginning of the season we were looking for promotion and felt that we have the players to do so but Northampton and West Ham have been so consistent and done so well at the top from the very start. It's a bit disappointing to be where we are in mid-table but we can build for next season and come back even stronger."
Which players in the QPR squad does Beth think can do well against Sunderland? "Lesley Seaman is a key player up front. She's an unbelievable player, strong in the challenge and strikes the ball well, and is an influential player for us. Also our midfielders, Simone Dwyer and Shannon Moloney, will be vital to us if they are on song.
"We don't know a great deal about Sunderland but Marcus Bignot (who plays for QPR) has given us an insight into them from his experiences of playing against them. We shall have to take them on and see what happens!
"That's the beauty of playing in the F.A.Cup, pitting your wits against people you don't normally play against. The cup run has also been valuable to our club financially and will help set us up for next season."
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