Albion's head of women's football looks ahead to an exciting day on Sunday.
Brighton & Hove Albion’s elite women and girls’ football manager, Tracy Doe, is relishing Sunday’s SSE Women’s FA Cup fourth round tie against Blackburn Rovers for more than one reason.
The club are hosting the Lancashire outfit at Culver Road with help from American Express.
There will be events all day which include face painting and a penalty shoot-out on the pitch at half-time, including a #SeagullsSelfie competition.
It is one of possibly only two remaining home matches for Albion and Doe believes it is a perfect opportunity to offer a glimpse of what the crowd experience might be like in the Women’s Super League.
“Realistically, we have probably only got two home games left this season, which includes the cup game on Sunday before facing Portsmouth at home in the league.
“It’s coming towards the end of the season and we’re building momentum and working very hard to get as many people as possible to come and watch the brilliant football our first team play.
“Our product is excellent and we decided to target the end of the season to get at least 500 people to come and watch us on a regular basis.
“We’ll put a big media push behind that fixture [final home game v Portsmouth] as well. We can then learn from this game, what did and didn’t work so that we can take that information into next season.
"Going forward, we’re aiming to have as many people watching the women as possible at every home game.”
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Albion’s opponents are in the Northern Division equivalent to the Seagulls in the South and still have a chance of winning their respective league title and a place in the end of season Championship play-off match.
“Our take on northern teams is that they’re strong and physical. They’ll have definitely done their homework on us and will be tough to break down defensively.
“We’re really looking forward to the tie and hoping for a really big crowd to support the team.
“It will be a close game with as little as one or two goals that will settle it.
“We want to do well on every front when it comes to the women’s first team and the FA Cup is always going to hold that special magic surrounding any national cup competition.”
This season, the set-up has continued to thrive with the unrelenting backing from chairman Tony Bloom and the club’s board of directors, which Doe feels has been crucial to the club’s recent successes.
“We’re blessed to have an excellent support team around the players. Both our strength and conditioning coaches and medical staff are among the best in the country supporting a women’s team. The facility at Lancing is also fantastic and having access to this has had a major impact on the professionalism of the programme.
“We can see that manifest itself in the quality and the style of football we’re producing, not only in the first team but in the development squad, academy and centre of excellence too.
“I would like to personally thank Tony Bloom and the board of directors for their support because we might not be in the position that we’re in at the moment if it wasn’t for their generosity and their belief that women & girls football should be part of the Albion football family.”
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