Southampton FC Women head to MK Dons on Sunday for their biggest game of the season so far, with head coach Marieanne Spacey-Cale confident they are well prepared for the FA Cup second-round clash.
Saints will head to Stadium MK to take on their opponents, who compete a few levels further up the pyramid, in the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division.
With the opportunity to put their 100 per cent record on the line against a side of that quality, and at a professional football club’s home stadium, there is understandably a buzz around the squad.
“There’s excitement, but we're ready for it,” said Spacey-Cale. “The girls have prepared well.
“We had a testing game last weekend in the league cup [beating Moneyfields 4-0 at home], and it'll serve as a good warm-up.
“The focus and the attention has been drawn to next Sunday from the moment that game ended. It's a huge opportunity to go to MK Dons and compete with a side two leagues above us.
“They'll be nervous. But that can be used positively, and the overriding emotion should be one of excitement.
“The girls ask questions every session, and want to find ways to improve every week. They've grown so much and I'm excited about what this group are capable of.
“The game is at Stadium MK, which is an experience in itself. We want to win, of course, but I'm also keen to understand where we're at, and if we can compete at this level.
“We'll see what we're capable of on Sunday. The FA Cup has a romance and a fairytale feel to it, so I want my players to embrace that. It's a real opportunity.”