By Georgie Hodge
The FA Women’s Premier League Cup springs into action this weekend as 16 teams from the Northern and Southern Divisions play their first games of the group stages.
There are seven groups in total as sides look for a place in the knock-out stages.
Sheffield FC Ladies, top of the Northern Division, will take on fifth-place Sporting Club Albion LFC in Group 6. Only three games into the League season and undefeated, Sheffield are flying high and will be hoping to take their form into the Cup on Sunday.
Elsewhere, the top two in the Southern Division, Gillingham LFC and Tottenham Hotspur LFC, battle it out in Group 1. Both sides are yet to lose this campaign.
Following their recent promotion to The FA Women’s Premier League, Chesham United LFC are still to pick up any points. But they can gain some confidence when they meet Brighton & Hove Albion WFC in the Cup. Brighton are sitting seventh in the Southern League after three games.
Wolverhampton Wanderers LFC will face Leeds United LFC in Group 5. With only a point in the League and currently bottom of the pile, Wolves will want to produce a good performance in this home encounter.
Leeds United LFC have suffered two consecutive defeats in the League, losing 5-2 to Preston North End WFC prior to their 4-1 home defeat to Newcastle United LFC. New Leeds manager, Neil Ross, has targeted Premier League success on his first season in charge of the club.
He said: “Leeds United Ladies have so much potential and I think that with the right attitude and plenty of hard work there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t eventually put ourselves amongst the biggest clubs in the country.”
However, following their latest defeat Ross was still confident in his team: “To be fair to the players we asked for a reaction following the Preston game and in terms of attitude and application I have no complaints.
“What let us down were a combination of poor execution and some individual errors. We had enough chances to score more goals and conceded some really sloppy goals at the back.
“We’ll just have to keep working hard and make sure we learn quickly from the mistakes we’ve made.”
Away from the League, though, Leeds can focus on this weekend’s Cup tie to boost their confidence and push further up in the Premier League table.
Check out the full fixture list for Sunday’s opening League Cup games here.
By Georgie Hodge