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Cardiff City are set to travel to Croatia to play in the First Qualifying Phase of the UEFA Women's Cup.
The South Wales side take on group hosts ZNK Dinamo Maksimir, Saestum of Holland and Republic of Ireland Champions Dundalk, who they meet in their opening match on Tuesday.
Charlotte Miller will be a part of the Cardiff squad which is hoping to reach the Second Phase for the first time and the midfielder told Women's Soccer Scene that they are expecting a big challenge. "We would have liked to have been drawn in the Scottish group as it's closer to home, but that's the luck of the draw I guess," she says. "The group looks tough but that is what we are expecting, the UEFA Cup is never an easy run for any team."
Charlotte admits that the other three group members will be largely unknown opposition. "We don't really know anything about our opponents," she says, "other than the Dutch team is seeded first in our group. All three games are going to be tough, so we are going to have to be at our best."
This season will be the fourth time that Cardiff have stepped into Europe, and the majority of their squad will have been there on each occasion. "Having played in Europe for the past three seasons, I think this will be a big help," adds Charlotte. "A lot of the team have experienced playing European football for the Welsh international sides, so most of us know what to expect. We have had a couple of new players join us this season so it's going to be a great experience for everyone, and a whole week together is great for team morale and team bonding."
The UEFA Cup group will also serve as great preparations for Cardiff's first ever season in the National Division, which commences a week after they return from Croatia with an opening trip to Doncaster Rovers Belles. "Oh, we can't wait to return from Europe to play in the Premiership," enthuses Charlotte. "This is what we have been working towards for the past four years. It's got to be every player's ambition to play in the Premiership, playing against the top teams in the women's game - we are really excited about the start of the season."
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