Chelsea’s Gilly Flaherty is predicting a busy day for the respective defences when the Blues take on Manchester City in a repeat of last year’s SSE Women’s FA Cup semi-final.
A Ji So-Yun goal was all that separated the two sides last May as Chelsea emerged victorious to book their place at Wembley, where they then beat Notts County to lift their first major trophy.
The London side will be hoping for a repeat outcome again this time around, with Flaherty confident their combined firepower of Gemma Davison, Fran Kirby, Eniola Aluka and off-season signing Karen Carney can deliver the goods.
But with Manchester City also boasting an impressive forward line, including the likes of England international Toni Duggan and Scotland’s Jane Ross, Flaherty is predicting plenty of goalmouth action when the two sides meet on April 17.
“It is our title, we want to retain it and we want to make sure we come out with as many points over the course of the season,” she said.
“It would be incredible to lift the SSE Women’s FA Cup at Wembley, we got there last year, we lifted it then and it is our trophy.
“For us drawing Man City is a repeat of last year and we know it is going to be a tough game, and we’re yet to play each other in the league since they’ve made their new signings.
“Both teams have great defences and frightening forward lines, so it will be an entertaining one and one that both teams will come out fired up for.
“Karen Carney is incredible. I think last year at Birmingham she suffered with injury, but she has come in fighting fit and has played in all of our games so far and all our pre-season fixtures as well.
“She is a great asset to our club and has fitted in like she has been there for years and years.
“You have Gemma [Davison] and Eni [Aluka] as well and Fran [Kirby]. You have a front four there that most teams would bite your hand off just to have one of them, never mind all four.
“We need to make sure we keep them all fresh and keep them fighting fit and go out there with the best starting 11 to face City.”
Chelsea’s SSE Women’s FA Cup success last August was the first of a double for the team who then went on to claim the FA Women’s Super League 1 title.
Either Arsenal or Sunderland lie in wait for the winners of the tie between Chelsea and Manchester City with the final being once again contested at Wembley on May 14.
The FA and SSE have announced that all children will be able to attend this year’s final for free and Flaherty admits she is desperate to experience the atmosphere of the game once again.
“It was an emotional day being there with friends and family and walking out onto the pitch at Wembley, walking up the steps as well,” she added.
“You see it all the time on TV but you never think that you’re actually going to be there and get a chance to do it.
“We don’t want to be one-hit wonders, we want to be sure that we retain it and we obviously now have a massive game in the semi-final to focus on first and foremost before we even look ahead to Wembley.
“I think it is a really family fun day out, the FA Cup final – even on the men’s side- is seen as a family day out.
“It is an incredible opportunity and a great initiative, it is a massive thank you to the FA as well as SSE for allowing kids to go for free.
“The culture that we have within women’s football is that it is for families and children can come along and they get involved.”
To buy your tickets to The SSE Women’s FA Cup Final, visit www.thefa.com