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Stockport County have experienced an upsurge in form in recent weeks and the Northern Division side take on Birmingham City in the Fifth Round of the F.A.Women's Cup this week.
Charlotte Higginson has been a part of Stockport's climb away from the relegation places and the midfielder is setting her sights on a chance to cause an upset on Sunday. "It's a big game for us, playing against a Premiership team," Charlotte told Women's Soccer Scene. "Everybody is looking forward to the opportunity of playing against Birmingham and I can't wait to play against top class players - you always want to test yourself against the best."
Stockport made a slow start to the season and met Birmingham in the opening round of the Premier League Cup, the Blues winning comfortably on the day. Charlotte did not play in that match but feels that her side are in much better shape this time around. "We have signed a few new players since last time so we are stronger now," she says. "The team is gelling together well lately and that is showing in our results, especially on Sunday when we beat Nottingham Forest 1-0. It was the best we have played all year - we would have had no chance at the beginning of the season."
Now Matt Johnson's side have a chance to pit their wits against Birmingham, and Charlotte is confident that they can hold up well. "Amanda Goodwin has been in great form for us, she is good at getting past players on the wing and will be a threat," she says. "We have a few new defenders who are getting used to each other and we are able to organise ourselves better."
One factor which might help Stockport is that they have home advantage - and that means playing on their third generation pitch which they moved to at the start of the season. "It was difficult getting used to the bounce and pace but we are used to playing there now," admits Charlotte. "Playing at home is a lot of inspiration to us - they might not be used to an artificial pitch and that should help us."
Stockport will experience the other side of the coin this week, going into the game as underdogs rather than as overwhelming favourites, as in the last round against Frome Town. "It was an easier tie for us against Frome but the 7-1 win gave our confidence a boost and we scored a few goals," says Charlotte. "Now the pressure is on Birmingham, we can just relax and play our own game and hopefully that can bring out the best in us.
"Nothing is impossible and we are hoping to cause a shock, after all Curzon Ashton beat Sunderland so it can be done."
The Birmingham match could see Charlotte directly up against England star Karen Carney, a challenge which she is relishing. "It will be good playing against her, hopefully I can make it as hard for her as I can," she enthuses, "but I need to concentrate on my own game and not worry about who I am playing against. It's all about playing well on the day and if we do, we can give ourselves a chance."
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