Hartlepool United Ladies face the biggest game of their season on Sunday as they face-off against Sheffield Wednesday in a promotion play-off in York (1pm kick-off).
Andy Stuart’s girls finished runners-up to Durham Cestria in the North East Regional Women’s Football League Northern Division and originally thought they had missed out on promotion.
However, a spot in the Premier Division is now up for grabs and Pools have it in their sights if they can overcome The Owls at Wilberfoss Sports Ground in York on Sunday.
Stuart has arranged a series of friendlies in the period since the regular season finished in order to keep his players’ fitness levels up and he’s confident they’re ready to show their best this weekend.
“The preparation has gone really but that genuine match fitness is a bit of a concern because training on its own doesn’t help you reach the same level,” he explained.
“But the team have always done themselves proud in our bigger games, such as when we pushed Middlesbrough Ladies all the way in the FA Cup tie earlier this season.
“I expect us to give it a real go and if we are good enough then we will win but I am wise enough to know it will be a tough game and we will have to be at our best.”
Pools will be without several players due to the League’s ruling that only those who have played five or more games during the regular campaign can take part in the play-off.
Casey Crossman remains sidelined with a dislocated knee, while Caitlin Bates has been struggling with a troublesome injury picked up against Boro which has now been diagonosed as a fractured spine.
We’ll have a full report and some photos from the game here on the Official Website next week.
Good luck, Ladies!