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Preview: West Ham United Women v Rovers Ladies

Gemma Donnelly’s side face Super League opposition in the Cup

3 February 2019

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Rovers Ladies will face their toughest test of the season on Sunday, when they travel to play West Ham United Women in the SSE Women’s FA Cup Fourth Round.

The Hammers enter the FA Cup at this stage, while Rovers saw off Wolves Women 4-0 and Oxford United Women 2-1 in previous rounds of the competition. 

Gemma Donnelly said: “We always like an away trip. This is the third one on the bounce in the FA Cup. 

“But of course it’s going to be a big ask to travel to London and face a full-time Women’s Super League team.

“We’ve played WSL teams in friendlies and they’ve been competitive games. So despite being away from home, the players will be up for the challenge. 

“We certainly don’t fear West Ham and with the squad we have, despite the differing leagues, we can provide most with tough competition. 

“That’s the believe that I instil into our players and that’s how we intend to perform on Sunday.”

West Ham away brings back fond memories for Rovers, with the Blues having won there 7-0 in 2016. Several key players from that game are still at the club, including hat-trick hero Lynda Shepherd. 

“It was certainly a positive experience to travel down South and win. The score suggests it was a convincing performance  and we were totally dominant throughout. 

“That was three years ago and albeit we have retained key players, now West Ham have a very healthy budget and employ a full-time squad.”

West Ham come into the game off the back of a 1-0 defeat to Liverpool Women.

Matt Beard’s side are yet to win a game in 2019 and they sit seventh in the 11-team table, having lost their last three games. 

“I had the opportunity to watch them in midweek and we will prepare accordingly.

“They’re a newly formed team into the restructured WSL and so are still finding their feet and have had some disappointing results."

Donnelly has a full squad to pick from for the game, with only the long-term absentees not in contention. 

“There’s a buzz around the camp, it’s an exciting game for us. There’s certainly been plenty of competition to make the squad.”

Donnelly’s team were beaten in extra-time by Charlton Athletic at this stage of the competition last year. 

“We’ve got nothing to lose. This is same round we’ve been knocked out in the past two seasons and nobody would expect us to come away with a result. 

“But we’ve just got to focus on our game. It’s a chance for the girls to showcase what they can do at that level, against that team.”

It’s a 1pm kick-off at Rush Green, with tickets priced at £5 for adults and £1 for concessions. 

You can follow all the action on Twitter, @RoversLadies.

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