Harrop: Let’s spoil Blues’ treble bid!
BIRMINGHAM City defender Kerys Harrop insists there’s no reason why treble-chasing Chelsea cannot be toppled in the Continental Tyres Cup quarterfinals today.
The Women’s Super League One table may suggest the clash at Solihull Moors is a foregone conclusion, but the Blues from Birmingham have been resurgent of late.
Harrop and co,second from bottom in the league,have lost just once in their last eight games in all competitions, in which time they have pulled five points clear of the dreaded relegation place.
And it could be argued that the Continental Tyres Cup has been the catalyst.City won four of their five group games and are now hunting an unlikely piece of silverware themselves.
The last time they won anything was the FA Cup in 2012 and Harrop – Birmingham’s longest-serving player – says this could be their year.
“The league and the Continental Tyres Cup are so unpredictable, anything can happen.We are hoping we can get the win as we have had a good run in the cup and we have been playing confidently in the competition,” said Harrop, who has been on the losing side twice in the Continental Tyres Cup final, in 2011 and 2012.
“All cup games are good experiences for everyone and we will hopefully beat Chelsea on Sunday; we have a great chance as we are in good form.”
Standing in their way are the FA Cup holders and WSL 1 leaders, but Harrop doesn’t fear the Londoners.
“It is good to play against the top teams and this will be a tough game,” she added. “We played them at home this season and only lost 1-0. It was an unlucky goal to concede, but the game was really close, so we are certainly encouraged no matter what the league table says.”
The only two sides to have ever lifted the Continental Tyres Cup, Manchester City and three-time winners Arsenal, were due to meet today at Boreham Wood.
They met in last season’s final, which saw Isobel Christiansen – who was this week called up to the England squad for the first time – score the only goal for City in a 1-0 victory at Wycombe.
But late on Friday the game was postponed after the FA charged Manchester City with fielding an ineligible player, so far unnamed, in the group stage.
The alleged offence occured during the group game against Sunderland, which City won 3-1, on Saturday, August 15. Goals from Nikita Parris, Steph Houghton and Toni Duggan earned City three points.
If they are found guilty it seems likely they will be removed from the competition, ending their defence of the silverware.
The club have until Thursday, September 17 to respond to the charge.
Reading are the only club flying the flag for the second tier, but Kylie Davies insists they can cause an upset in their last-eight clash away to Notts County.
“Notts County have got lots of pace up front and some skilful players,but we feel as though we have got a great opportunity to progress to the next round,”said the Royals defender.“We believe we can get to the final,but we need to keep improving and retain that belief.”
And in the other quarter-final tie, lowly Liverpool travel to struggling Bristol Academy as both sides look to finish the season with something to savour.
FULLY FOCUSED: Kerys Harrop is out to shock Chelsea in the Continental Tyres Cup today ROYALS DUTY: Reading’s Kylie Davies