Forest Prepare For Wolves Cup Clash

“This cannot come soon enough. This is the start of another great opportunity with this team. A challenge that teams have never faced before. A platform similar to American playoff system. Proper tournament style football. We cannot wait.” Forest manager, Andy Cook, ahead of a return to football for his, and a number of other clubs, on 4 April.

After the announcement that the women’s football season will be finished early for the second successive season, Nottingham Forest Women will still have at least one more game to play.

With no more league football for tiers 3-6 of the football pyramid, much to the chagrin of those at those levels, a glimmering light arrives in the shape of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup, which will see Forest travel across the Midlands, to the Black Country, and the home of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Curtailed with immediate effect and declared incomplete, clubs at tier three and below will now have to wait until the start of the 2021-22 campaign to taste league football again, and, with no promotion or relegation options, Forest can count themselves hard done-by for the second season in succession.

Now they have to prepare for a winner-takes-all, cup match, and opposing three of their former in ex-Forest captain Kelly Darby, as well as Amy Dicken and Summer Holmes, in a match originally scheduled for late last year.

Speaking of the upcoming Forest captain Lyndsey Harkin said: “Wolves were flying (before the latest lockdown) and were top of their league having won all their games.

“We know that it’ll be a tough game against them having played them back in pre-season and they gave us a really good game, which makes for what should be a cracking match.”

Having won six from six, their last match came in the FA Cup when they saw off visiting Stourbridge LFC, with ease, 3-0 in the FA Cup, goals coming from Morphet, Cross, and with five to go, Darby; Forest meanwhile had slipped to sixth in their league, registering four wins and two draws from nine outings, their last being a 2-1 reverse at home to West Bromwich Albion on 20 December.

Looking ahead to Wolves early next month, Forest manager, Andy Cook, said of the ‘restart’ for his side: “We are all really excited by the prospect of playing again.

“To hear the news that we are playing in at least one competitive game is great.

“The girls were all messaging me saying ‘just let me know when I need to be back;’ it’s something we hoped would happen, and having that date finally here is great.

“We know it will be tough and we’re not expecting a perfect performance with us only having had two sessions in which to prepare due to the lifting of lockdown.

“Because we are non-professional, and none of the girls get paid, we are in the non-elite category and so cannot train; we do know though that we are anything but non-elite.

“The way we work and prepare is as good as WSL (Women’s Super League) teams.”

There has been some issues mounting at the club over the past few months and, although Andy and the club won’t look for excuses – injuries, departures and the like, they all play their part in the everyday running of a football club, at any level.

“The biggest issue for me is we have about sixteen injuries, just small things but they do add up,” continued Andy.

“This shows how much the girls have worked during lockdown to maintain levels, maybe too hard in some cases, so it’s going to be very tough going to Wolves who were in form and will want to show their class against a team who are looking to gain promotion to the championship.

“We have a big squad and we chose to make it twenty-five (Lucy Johnson going to America & Bex Rayner moving to Sheffield United left at Christmas) and are now at twenty-three.

“The squad is brilliant, and we have some excellent footballers, what we do need though is that little extra; to block a shot, or cross, make a pass, or a bit of movement to open the spaces.

“We get that and we will be very hard to beat; that’s the question I’ll pose to the girls at the first sessions back – who’s ready to step up and play to win?”

What is a dead-cert however, is that not only are they itching to get back on the field of play, but they are well aware of what is at stake, wanting to finish what has been another tempered season, on a high.

“I just can’t wait to get onto the pitch and throw some cones down,” continued Andy.

“Get ready for lockout football; it’s totally unique what we are about to do – win, we play next week, lose, and we’re out.

“A total test of everything we have – ability, character, mind-set, focus, there’s nothing better.

“As you can tell, I’m like a caged animal, just get me back on a pitch.”

Meanwhile, in pitting her wits against her former captain, Forest’s Lyndsey Harkin added of Darby: “She’s a tough defender and a good leader so it will be great to come up against her at Wolves.

“She’ll be organising that back line and they’ll well be well up for the game, just like we will.”

Nottingham Forest Women travel to the Black Country to face Wolverhampton Wanderers Women in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup Second Round on Sunday 4 April, the winner of which will travel to that of Watford or MK Dons a week later.

Forest’s TEN YEAR Women’s FA Cup Record

  • 2011: 4th Round
  • 2012 3rd Round
  • 2013 5th Round
  • 2014 3rd Round
  • 2015 2nd Round
  • 2016 4th Round
  • 2017 4th Round
  • 2018 2nd Round
  • 2019 3rd Round
  • 2020 3rd Round

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @Josh Dixon The Forest girls can’t wait to get back in action.

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