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It has not been the easiest of campaigns so far for Liverpool Feds, mainly a stop-start season to date, but on Sunday they returned to action with a 3-0 victory away to Fleetwood Town Wrens in the Third Round Qualifying of the Vitality Women's FA Cup.
Feds captain Chantelle Thompson told us she was pleased overall with the way her team played on the day, having not been in action for a long time, and she is expecting another tough tie against FC United of Manchester in the First Round this week:
WSS: Were you pleased overall with the result and performance on Sunday, given you had an awkward cup tie after six weeks without a game?
CT: The aim was to progress through to the next round and we achieved that. Performance wise we knew it wasn't going to be perfect, It was always going to be difficult, we had one training session on Thursday and for some of our girls, their last game was on 30th September. So overall it was pleasing to progress and keep another clean sheet.
WSS: You got off to a great start with two goals in the opening half hour, was it the plan to take the game to Fleetwood from the start?
CT: We always try to start on the front foot and control possession. We wanted to try and get a goal early and kill any hope of an upset for Fleetwood, looking back we probably should have scored more with the chances we had but most important thing was to progress.
WSS: Regardless of the result, what was it like just to be back out on a pitch playing again?
CT: It felt great to be back with the girls on the pitch, the Covid situation in Liverpool has been pretty bad and its been frustrating not being able to showcase how good this squad is due to the lack of games.
WSS: You've come through two away ties against opponents from the level below so far and now you face another one in the First Round this week, what are your thoughts ahead of the game with FC United of Manchester?
CT: I've got no doubt in my mind that it will be a very tough game, they are a well structured club who will be looking to progress into the next round as are we. It's always tough facing teams from the level below - there's no pressure on them and they want to prove a point.
WSS: Liverpool Feds have had some good runs in the FA Cup in recent seasons, would another good run be important to the club this time?
CT: With no County Cup or FAWNL Cup/Plate we want to go as far as we possibly can, the further we get, the more games we get to play and it's good to bring in money for the club.
WSS: Have there been many changes at the club over the summer, and do you feel that you have a stronger squad this season?
CT: I thought we did great business in the summer, not only did we keep everyone on from the season before, but we also added players who have really brought something to the team. Rachael Darbyshire, Chloe Fisher and Erin Slade have all fitted in really well and we also have the likes of Em Douglas, Demi Devereaux and Carla Lee coming back to full fitness in the New Year after long term injuries. I really believe this is the strongest squad I have been a part of at the Feds.
WSS: It has undoubtedly been a frustrating start to the season for you, but do you think that you can get up amongst the leading sides when you start playing regularly?
CT: 100%. I don't think you can look at the table and gauge who is going to end up where this early on. We've played two league games so far whereas some teams have played five or six, so hopefully we can get a good run of games in and start progressing up the table.
WSS: Before the break, the division was shaping up to be a close one, can you see it staying that way when it resumes?
CT: Yes, I think the league is always a close one, everyone has the ability to beat anyone on their day. I think you will have the usual teams up there at the top along with some surprises. We just concentrate on each game as it comes and hopefully towards the end of the season we are up there.
Our thanks to Chantelle!
Photo - Franz Wheldon
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