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Another challenging game - Claire
 Women's Football News 23 Jan 2009
Another challenging game - Claire - 23 Jan 2009 - Women's Football NewsMillwall Lionesses will be seeking to continue their excellent F.A.Women's Cup run this Sunday when they take on Blackburn Rovers for a place in the quarter finals.
The game offers Millwall a chance to reach the last eight for the first time in several years but goalkeeper Claire Lacey told Women's Soccer Scene: "It is going to be another challenging game for us. Blackburn have a number of players in the England set up and they will be hard opponents.
"We won't be taking anything for granted, whoever we are playing - it is going to be another tough game and we will take the same perspective as the game against Doncaster Belles, we will treat it the same and prepare properly for it."
Millwall made it through to this stage with a stunning 1-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers Belles and Claire paid tribute to her team mates for the result. "Everyone excelled and worked hard, they all played their part," she said. "We dominated the first 30 minutes - we scored and looked like getting another two or three, it was unreal.
"In the second half, we knew they had a purpose and they came out a lot stronger - they came at us but everyone did their duty and we defended for our lives, the defence in particular was solid and played really well. Luckily, I had a sound game and made a couple of saves and Leanne Champ cleared one off the line, but it was a brilliant performance - as good as I have been involved in.
"It was one of my biggest games and the most meaningful, barring my first England cap. I was determined not to concede and keep a clean sheet. The league is our main priority but the Cup is special and we want to go as far as we can."
Millwall started the season as favourites in the Southern Division but a lack of games has left them in mid-table, with several games in hand. "It's been frustrating," admits Claire. "We just want to play - we're working so hard in training and the weather has ruined a part of this season.
"It's a bit worrying about a backlog of fixtures but our fitness levels have increased by 30% this season - it will be hard but we have got a big squad of good players and I think we can cope with the number of games."
Millwall have been boosted by the arrival of Keith Boanas as manager this season as well as some key players and Claire has been impressed by the former Charlton boss. "Keith is a highly respected manager who has made a big difference," she says. "He has brought character, determination and motivation to the team and every player wants to do well this season. Everything is taken very seriously and his experience has benefitted us.
"Ann Marie Heatherson has been a great signing for us, now she is back from injury - she is technically gifted and a classy player. Leanne Champ has dominated the centre of our midfield, her experience and reading of the game is second to none. She is an all round brilliant player with exceptional talent."
As for Claire, she is hopeful that a good Cup run would be a highlight in what has been a very good career. "It would be a massive achievement," she enthuses. "I have been in the game for a few years - my main aim was to play for England and I achieved that, it was a great feeling. An F.A.Women's Cup Final appearance would be one to remember as it is so special, I reached the Fifth Round with West Ham a few years ago but have never gone further, so this is a chance.
"Promotion would mean everything for the club. It is a shame they were relegated a few years ago as they are a Premier club and it would mean a lot to people including those who don't play, such as Pru Buckley who is Millwall through and through.
"We are so determined to get back into the top flight. Charlton are doing well and we need to take three points off them when we play them next, and I have a lot of respect for Portsmouth as they have a very good set up and managerial and coaching staff - I think that those two will be our main rivals this year. Millwall is a big club and should be in the top division, that is where we want to be."

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