Terriers Prepare For Brighton Cup Tussle

by Jack Walker

Above: Huddersfield Town’s Katie Nutter gets a shot in on the Manchester United U21 goal in a recent friendly game. Photo: Jess Hornby.

FA Women’s National League Northern Premier side Huddersfield Town Women make the journey to play Brighton and Hove Albion in the fifth round of this season’s Vitality Women’s FA Cup in a 12pm kick-off on Sunday afternoon.

The Terriers won three games to reach round five, beating Liverpool Feds, Brighouse Town and Derby County en-route to the latter stages.

Super League side Brighton are fully professional and boast international stars so fitness may play a big role on Sunday but, having gone to extra time twice in the Cup this season, Town will be hard to out-run.

Brighton’s WSL campaign finished with a commanding 3-1 win against Bristol City – the same side the Seagulls beat to set up the tie with Town – last weekend, as opposed to the months of league-free football that the Terriers have had since the FA WNL season was curtailed shortly early in the year.

Manager Jordan Wimpenny, however, hasn’t focused on how Brighton will have geared up for Sunday’s showdown.

“Brighton are a [Women’s] Super League side. As I’ve said, they’re very athletic and are ahead of us with the amount of training, the opponents and surfaces they play on, so we have to prepare for situations that we’ve never faced before.

“My team are well prepared. We’ve had two friendlies against strong sides and have put in solid performances. We will continue those preparations.”

Town have only reached this stage of the competition once before when they miraculously came from three goals down against Charlton Athletic to eventually win on penalties. Although he wasn’t at the helm back then, Wimpenny’s side have also taken teams all the way in this season’s competition.

With many of the current squad featuring on that famous day in the capital, he wants to use memories of Charlton to full advantage.

“To have that history is massive for the Club. We’ve had tough games, gone to extra time, to penalties and also done it in ninety minutes. We know we’ll give them [Brighton] a good game and it would be amazing if we go through.

“It’s a Cup game, which means anything can happen. We need to look at characteristics: leaders, desire, wanting to go through. That will all play a massive part in the result.

“The players will need to be together more than ever this weekend. We have to give everything we’ve got. We have nothing to lose. We’ll be going in as the underdogs, so we have absolutely nothing to lose. The players have had a fantastic season and I would love to see them progress into the next round.

Huddersfield and Southampton are the only two FAWNL sides left in this season’s FA Cup. After both facing grueling fixtures to get this far, Wimpenny wants to do the lower leagues proud.

“I had a look at Southampton’s run and they have come a long way, so congratulations to them. If we can put a stamp on this competition for the lower leagues then it just shows the quality that is in the lower leagues and the growth of the women’s game that can happen. We’re challenging Championship and WSL sides, long may it continue.”

Town are just one win away from the Quarter Finals and, having never reached the last eight, this weekend’s game is arguably the most anticipated in Town’s history. After a record-breaking league campaign with goals flying in left, right and centre, the Terriers will travel to Brighton with one thing on their mind: to do themselves and the fans proud.

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