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Leeds begin defence of trophy
 Women's Football News 28 Aug 2010
Leeds begin defence of trophy - 28 Aug 2010 - Women's Football NewsPremier League Cup holders Leeds United get their title defence underway this weekend with a visit to fellow National Division side Sunderland.
Leeds will take to the field at Hetton-le-Hole on Sunday with a team featuring none of the starting eleven from that Cup Final win; Sophie Walton is still in Serbia with the GB Universities Futsal squad, while Leeds regulars Gemma Bonner and Nat Staneff were unused substitutes that night.
However the team will be buoyed by last weekend's season-opening win against tough opposition at Millwall Lionesses.
"All games are tough at this level," said Leeds manager Gemma Grainger, "but with almost a whole new team to bed in, trips to opposition like Millwall and Sunderland are big tests.
"Our late start to pre-season means we're still off the pace slightly, but anyone who saw last Sunday's game at Millwall will have seen how determined we are to compete at this level and how everyone worked for each other, especially in that second half spell when we had to soak up a lot of pressure but still counter attacked.
"The new format for the competition also takes some of the pressure off, but we're the holders, and we won't be giving the cup up easily!"
The lower number of teams across the Premier League this season means the competition is now played as a group stage for the opening three games. Each of the seven groups of four teams has at least one National Division side. The top two from each group, plus the two best third placed teams across all the groups will progress into the last sixteen and the knockout phase, which starts at the end of October.

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