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Leicester City Women manager Jonathan Morgan is confident that his team can make a good impression when they take on Sheffield FC in the SSE Women's FA Cup Third Round on Sunday.
Leicester are having an excellent season in FAWPL Midlands Division One, having won all of their league games so far. Now they get the chance to test themselves against the FA WSL's newest club, who will be playing their first competitive match since the Play-Off Final last May and their first under new manager Mick Mulhern.
On top of this, Leicester were knocked out of the Cup by Sheffield last season and Jonathan insists that things will be a lot closer this time around.
"Currently there is cautious excitement around the club and whilst everyone is looking forward to our Third Round encounter with Sheffield, the memory of last year's encounter still lingers," he told Women's Soccer Scene. Our current season is going fantastic with as many wins from 13 starts in the league and whilst coaches and players alike are enjoying a great season thus far, we are in no doubt we must continue to work hard and improve.
"Many of our players who competed in the defeat against Sheffield last year have grown and are now very keen to test themselves against a respected opponent that has demonstrated the best of the women's game in this country. When the draw was announced, the initial reaction from the players was to rectify last year's defeat, however since then a more balance and calm approach to the game has emerged.
"What is certain though, since last year we have strengthened considerably in both the player and coaching department and the club overall is better position to compete with the likes of Sheffield.
"This tie is nothing that the players do not deserve for their hard work over the season. We are not just turning up to make the numbers for this particular game, we aim to really push Sheffield all the way and hopefully take advantage of their lack of competitive games for the last year.
"The overall aim here is to cause an upset and progress to the Fourth Round. Sheffield can expect a very different game from last year as our approach is to make this a highly competitive cup game and provide an entertaining game of football for the fans and supporters. "Within the club, there is an air of optimism surrounding the game. It's the FA Cup and anything can happen. The players are feeling very positive and are relishing the chance to play against a top class opposition."
Leicester captain Holly Morgan insists that the team will be approaching the game in confident mood. "We are going to fight to the very end to give us the best chance of success in this game," she said. "I have never seen the girls so pumped for a game."
"I am absolutely buzzing for the FA Cup game against Sheffield," added striker Helen Busby (pictured). "I have no doubt that we will give it everything, like we have all season.
"We have a great squad mentality with a lot of fight in us. Hopefully we can use this to cause an FA Cup upset - everybody loves an underdog story."
Midfielder Becca Carnelly said: "This is what the FA Cup is all about, you get the rewards for working hard and playing well to progress to the rounds where the more glamorous ties are.
"It's a great opportunity for us to show everybody what we are all about and as a club and me personally. We are all looking forward to the challenge."
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