Har­rop: Let’s spoil Blues’ tre­ble bid!

The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By John Hunter

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.

Con­fi­dence

“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.

PIC­TURE: The FA

FULLY FO­CUSED: Kerys Har­rop is out to shock Chelsea in the Con­ti­nen­tal Tyres Cup to­day ROY­ALS DUTY: Read­ing’s Kylie Davies

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