Pompey Ladies eye cup final spot

Justine Lorton hopes to recover from a groin problem to take on Barnet
Justine Lorton hopes to recover from a groin problem to take on Barnet
Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey Ladies are chasing a place in the League Cup final when they take on Barnet at Uxbridge FC tomorrow (2pm).

After guiding her side to a memorable quarter-final victory over national division leaders Sunderland, boss Vanessa Raynbird has set her sights on leading Pompey to the final.

Standing in their way are a Barnet side promoted from the southern division – the league Pompey currently play in – last season and who are on a good run of form.

‘We have to approach the game full of confidence, in the same manner that we did against Sunderland,’ said Raynbird.

‘Games against Barnet are always tight, fast and frantic. They beat Cardiff 5-0 in the previous round and have had some good league wins as well.

‘But we have done it against the side who are top of the national division and we are not going to settle for reaching the semi-finals.

‘The final is likely to be televised and we have never been this far in any competition.

‘Our main aim is to get promoted into the national divisions and we are in a good position in the league.

‘But we are looking forward to this. It will be a great day and a great achievement if we can get to the final.’

It has been a rollercoaster ride for Pompey in the competition so far.

The initial group stage proved anything but routine.

Victory over Keynsham was followed by defeat to Reading, meaning Pompey needed a point from their clash with Yeovil to progress, with the opposition needing to win by three clear goals.

Pompey found themselves 3-0 down before launching an amazing fightback, capped with an injury-time equaliser that took them through.

Raynbird’s side then faced northern division outfit Aston Villa and were again 3-0 down before roaring back to win 5-4.

The quarter-final draw pitched Pompey against the top side in the country, excluding the super-league teams, and undaunted Raynbird’s team grabbed a sensational 2-1 success over Sunderland.

Key Pompey defender Alex Windell will be missing tomorrow after she was injured in training with her super-league club Bristol Academy.

But Kirsty McGee and Molly Clark return to strengthen the side who lost 7-2 at Sunderland last weekend in the rematch in the FA Women’s Cup.

Midfielder McGee is likely to slot in alongside impressive youngster Laura Heron at centre-back.

Veteran forward Justine Lorton has a groin problem but is hoping to start.

Raynbird is confident her reshuffled side can earn another mementos victory to set up a final against either Nottingham Forest or Leicester.

She said: ‘I hope Justine makes it as a she is a big asset to our team. She works wonders with set-pieces and she is an experienced player.

‘Kirsty has played in defence before and young Laura Heron is doing fantastically well.

‘Molly will strengthen the midfield alongside Lindsey Roe, who is a hard-working, energetic player, which is exactly what you want against a team like Barnet.’