A trip to Sheffield In the league tonight, will sharp be followed by a home game, at the City Ground, against Super League powerhouses, Manchester City Women, on Saturday afternoon.
The Vitality Women’s FA Cup contest is an exciting prospect for Andy Cook and his Nottingham Forest Women side, the Reds having got to this point following victories over Lichfield (4-0), Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-0) and Stoke City (2-1), now, could a big scalp be on the horizon?
Cook readily admits that his side aren’t just there to make up the numbers, so the Nottingham Sport caught up with players Charlotte Steggles and Becky Anderson, the former of which is in her third season at the club, whilst the latter arrived in the summer just gone.
Starting by speaking of their respective time at the Reds, Steggles begun by saying that: “This is now my third season at Forest and I’m still to complete a full season; but I ‘m really enjoying my football.
“Year on year, the strength of the squad here is growing and it’s becoming more competitive for places.
“I had a bit of a slow start to this season personally, but I’ve now got a good run of games under my belt and I’m really enjoying my football.
“We are all just so excited though, and it’s a big game, on a big stage, and we want to embrace the occasion,” smiled Steggles when looking ahead to Saturday’s cup clash, “the club as a whole have been amazing in supporting us and there is definitely a buzz about the place.
“But, as always, we’ve had league games to focus on, so we haven’t been able to get carried away with ourselves.
“This week is a big week, having three games in just six days.
“We beat Stoke on Sunday, and now our focus has turned to the Sheffield game, after that I think we can all start looking forward to the Man City game.”
Meanwhile playmaker, Anderson, who’s been having an influential presence on the field of play this season, is happy with the way her Forest career has begun.
Granted they’re only halfway through the season, but, with cup runs, and a decent run of form in the league, it’s understandable she feels the way she does.
“I’m really enjoying my football here, and I’ve even managed to find the goal a few times this season which is a bonus,” continued Anderson.
“(The FA Cup run) it’s been good for us to find the back of the net (ten scored in three outings), despite us having tough fixtures against both Wolves and Stoke.
“We had to work to get here but we deserve it, and, with the cup, comes less pressure as we are not expected to win, so hopefully it’ll just be an experience we can enjoy.”
Speaking of the Wolves game, a 4-0 victory was just reward for a Reds side that crashed out, on penalties, against the same side, in last season’s completion.
It’s a victory that didn’t go unnoticed either, especially considering how tough the Black Country side have been, in both league, and cup contests.
Steggles added of that victory: “The Wolves game, it was a big win, especially after the previous two results.
“Wolves are a very strong team, so for us to go out there, and get that result we did, and in the FA Cup, it was special.”
As for Saturday’s game, and they know they have to do their job against Sheffield in the league first, but Manchester City, at home, and all that entails – they want as many as possible to take to the City Ground.
Anderson, effective from dead-ball scenarios, could become one of a number of deciding factors on the day, she saying of that, and playing at the home of the two-time European Cup winners that: “It’s just about us maximising the opportunities when it arises.
“We know that chances will be few and far between, so making the most of those set pieces is important.
“Playing at the City Ground, it’s exciting, and there’s no doubt it will be tough, but it’s also 11 vs. 11.
“Anything can happen on the day, and you absolutely have to believe that it can.
“The attitude of just being there to participate and be a passenger in the experience won’t get us very far.”
As for Steggles, opposing City, at the City Ground, does have a good ring to it, but the sentiments, they stop right there.
They know what they have to do, and Head Coach Andy Cook, and his coaching team, along with Captain Lyndsey Harkin, will be drumming it home right the way through until the final whistle.
“Well that sounds good doesn’t it,” admitted Steggles.
“Despite it being an exciting day, we are not planning to go out there and roll over, we have to go out there and believe that we can win.
“For me, we are the underdogs, and the pressure isn’t on us, but we have worked hard behind the scenes to make sure we are prepared for this game.
“So we go out there, we stick to our game plan and who knows, come 3pm on Saturday afternoon, there could be an upset in the FA Cup.”
Now wouldn’t that be nice…. Good Luck Ladies!!
As for the game itself, Nottingham Forest Women play host to Manchester Women, at the City Ground, on Saturday 29 January, 1pm kick-off, with prices of £5 Adults, £3 Concessions, and £1 Kids – tickets for which can be purchased via here.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFCWomen Charlotte Steggles says there’s a real ‘buzz’ around the Forest Women’s team ahead of their FA Cup tie.