Nottingham Forest Ladies continue their battle to retain the Nottinghamshire County Cup on Sunday afternoon as they travel to Clifton All Whites.
The home side will have the task of trying to tame Forest’s roar on Sunday as The Reds come into the game on the back of a solid team-performance. Forest got their second half of their league campaign underway last weekend against Fylde Ladies, who sat fifth in the table, and took all three points with a 1-0 win.
Forest advanced into the second round of the cup in November after beating neighbours Notts County 5-0. The home fans were treated to a flurry of goals as four different players etched their name on to the scoresheet. Amy Dicken netted a brace, whilst Lauren Cresswell and Hazzana Parnell also found the back of the net, and the side's leading goalscorer across all competitions, Katie Middleton, also joined in on the action.
Forest won the County Cup in dramatic fashion last season against Radcliffe Olympic and will be looking to match that feat again this year. The Reds started last year’s final as the better of the two sides and went ahead in the first half but the opener was soon cancelled out early in the second half. Forest would go on to claim victory through a 92nd-minute winner from Amy Dicken.
Three Forest players who started last year’s final could also feature again this weekend. Reds’ keeper Rebecca Thomas could retain her starting spot in between the sticks while club captain Kelly Darby could also start in the backline where she has a been a consistent force so far this season. Sammy Conroy, who scored a wonder-strike last Sunday in the league victory over Fylde, may also have a part to play again in The Reds' midfield this weekend.
Dicken started the 2018 final on the bench alongside Charlie Griffin and Grace Walters but this year’s campaign could see all three players with their names in the starting line-up as all three have played a large part in the Forest side so far this season.
The Forest starting line-up may feature some fresh faces and manager Graham Abercrombie explained earlier this week: “We’ll have an opportunity to rotate a few players and we’ll give a few players a little extra game time."
Niki Emery unfortunately missed last year’s County Cup final through injury but could feature in the starting 11 this weekend. The tricky forward has only been limited to making two substitute appearances since her return but may have an important role to play on Sunday afternoon.
Goalkeeper Emily Hallam joined The Reds in the summer from last year’s final opponents, Radcliffe Olympic, and she may be recalled back into goal by Abercrombie if he decides to field a rotated squad.
The game may also potentially see the in-form Ashleigh Edwards make her County Cup debut for the side after she was left as an unused substitute against Notts County after joining from Doncaster Belles earlier that season.