Brighton & Hove Albion get their SSE Women’s FA Cup campaign underway this afternoon as Manchester United visit The People’s Pension Stadium for the fourth round encounter, kick-off 12.30pm.
Today’s match marks the first round of which both teams enter the competition, with clubs from the FA Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship join the ten winners from the third round.
It will be the first time Albion have matched up against the Red Devils, who formed in May 2018 after being awarded a licence to play in the women’s second tier.
Albion will be looking to do better than their campaign last season, where United’s rivals Manchester City knocked out the then second tier Seagulls at the same stage of the competition with a 2-0 win.
Hope Powell’s side will be bolstered by the signing of Republic of Ireland International Megan Connolly, and the midfielder could make her debut after being an unused substitute in Albion’s previous WSL match against Manchester City.
In that match, Albion fell to a 3-0 defeat after City took the lead through a third minute penalty from England international Nikita Parris, before adding a further two goals before the break.
However, an incident during the second goal means the team will be unlikely to be able to call on the services of goalkeeper Marie Hourihan, who limped off injured shortly after it was scored.
But there were positives to take from the match, with the Seagulls defence keeping out the league leader’s efforts to score in the second half, giving them momentum going into the match today.
United have started their inaugural campaign well, winning nine and winning and drawing one apiece in their league campaign. This leaves them fourth in the table, five points off top, but with two games in hand over leaders Tottenham Hotspur and second-placed Charlton Athletic, and three games over Durham in third.
United were also the only Championship side to qualify for the knockout stages of the FA Continental Tyres Cup, finishing top of their group in the process. They then overcame West Ham United in the quarter-final, and will line up against Arsenal on Thursday.
It promises to be an exciting day in Crawley, and it remains to be seen who will be in the hat for Monday’s fifth round draw.
Tickets will be available to purchase on the turnstiles at a price of £10 for adults and £4 for under-10s.