Catherine Cooper hopes that Brighton & Hove Albion women use their home advantage to full effect when Tottenham Hotspur visit the American Express Elite Centre today, kick-off 2pm.
The Seagulls will play their second consecutive game on a 4G pitch at the training ground after prevailing in a 4-1 victory over Plymouth Argyle last week, and Cooper is hoping for a similar result.
She said, “It will be a tough game and they will want to come out and beat us. We’ve been playing on a 4G surface for a while, so hopefully that works to our advantage. We will stick to our game plan and what we’ve been told, so we will see how it goes on the day.
“It’s nice to be on a winning streak and hopefully we can keep that going. We won’t let that get into our heads too much though and we just need to go out there and enjoy the game.
“I generally prefer playing on a 4G pitch as opposed to grass because you don’t have to concentrate on your first touch as much. It’s the perfect surface, and if it improves our touch, then there can be no excuses. That surface allows us to play the fast football we like.”
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The centre-half has been a regular in James Marrs’s first-team plans this season and admits she is surprised to have held down such a key role in an Albion squad brimming with talent.
“When I first came to Brighton, I had no idea I was going to be in the first team because I wasn't for most of last year at Gillingham. I was on the fringes then, so it’s been quite a big shock and surprise to me to play the majority of my games with the first team. It’s been a big step up for me.
“I have been working hard, but I never expected to become a regular because the quality of the players here is so high. They’re a great bunch of girls and it’s great to be involved.”
Catherine says the presence of her sister Deanna Cooper, who has also been playing in the heart of the Seagulls defence, has had a profound effect on her development.
“She’s been a massive help. I’m really proud of how far she’s come and it’s quite a comfort blanket to have her next to me as well, because she’s always there. If I’m having a bad game or something, she’ll always tell me. I feel comfortable and confident enough to listen to her.”