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Cardiff City captain Natasha Harding says that her side are ready and waiting for their Premier League Cup quarter final tie against Barnet.
The tie was due to be played last Sunday but was one of the many matches which fell victim to the weather. "We are all really disappointed that the game was postponed last week, as we are up for the game," Natasha told Women's Soccer Scene. "Cup ties are always a bit special and have an added excitement about them."
When the tie does get played, Cardiff will go into the match on the back of three successive victories having been beaten in each of their opening three league matches. Natasha admits that it has been difficult to work out the reasons for their upsurge in form. "We can't put our finger on why our form has been so inconsistent," she replies. "After a good pre-season and then a great result in our opening match with a 2-0 win against Watford [in the League Cup], then we seemed to have a dip in form, but hopefully that is well behind us."
It has been something of a 'stop start' season so far for Cardiff with a number of weeks off, so maybe this has not helped? "Possibly, we have mentioned that," says Natasha, "and also a string of injuries has also upset the formation of the team - but that's no different to other sides.
"We can't start making excuses, we have had some dismal performances and conceded poor goals. We just have to keep working hard and hopefully the consistency will come along."
One place where Cardiff have found that form has been in the Premier League Cup where the excellent win over Watford was followed by a draw with Aston Villa and a narrow defeat by Coventry City. This took them into the Second Round where they progressed by winning 4-0 at Curzon Ashton. "It's really strange," admits Natasha. "It has been nice playing sides outside of our league though and playing in the group games was great fun."
Cardiff have never reached the last four of a major English Cup competition before and the Barnet tie gives them a chance to make some history, maybe ranking as one of their best ever results. "It would be a great achievement, that's for sure," says Natasha, "and we have had some good cup results in recent years. The aim is to get a good performance in and kick start our season, to win would be an added bonus."
Whatever happens against Barnet, Natasha insists that it will not affect their focus on the league and an increasingly tight Southern Division table. "What a really strange league season it is," she smiles. "Everyone is pinching points off each other and you can't predict scores from one week to the next. A good run of wins and we can move up the table, well we have to aim to do that.
"I think for every team, league form is the priority and that is what is being drummed into us. But of course, as a player, we all have one eye on the cup games, as it has a special feel and great for team morale to do well. We will try and get as far as we can."
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