Kate Natkiel is looking forward to the distraction of playing in the FA Cup on Sunday, as Brighton & Hove Albion women host Luton Town in a second round tie at Culver Road, kick-off 2pm.
The forward says she is unsure of what to expect from the Hatters, who ply their trade in the Women’s Premier League South East Division One - one tier below Albion in the women’s football pyramid.
She told seagulls.co.uk, “We’re always going to be focusing on the league, but this week it will be nice to go and play without as much pressure. Obviously we want to win, but there’s not as much pressure to get points on the board. It will be nice to have a good cup run.
“The FA Cup is always a bit of an unknown. It doesn’t matter what league the opposition are in, it’s going to be hard. They can turn up on the day and play amazingly.
“We can’t go into the game feeling too complacent. It’s important that we take each game as it comes and play how we normally would against a bigger team.
“Luton was quite near to where I lived when I played for Hoddesdon Owls. I remember playing them a few times and it always used to be a tough game. But I only played them at under-12 and under-14 level, so it was a long time ago!”
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The former Watford player is excited by the prospect of potentially meeting a Women’s Super League Two (WSL 2) side in round three, after missing out on the Hornets’ narrow 2-1 win a third round tie in last season’s competition.
“I was injured for that game. I really wanted to play, having previously been on loan at Brighton, so I was gutted.
“It was a great game to watch though and there was no real difference between the teams, with Watford scoring a 90th minute winner.
“It would be really good to progress in the competition and play a WSL team, so we can prove ourselves against the bigger teams. It would be good to draw a WSL 2 team, or even draw a WSL 1 team in the following rounds because I think we can give them all a good game.”
Natkiel says the squad have had little respite over the festive period and feels the squad are in the best possible shape heading into 2016.
“We’ve worked on the same things compared to what we do in a normal week. We had a couple of days off over Christmas, but were straight back into training the day after Boxing Day.
“We’ve trained a number of times since then, which is good because I don’t think any of us would’ve lost much fitness and it’s great to still be around each other over Christmas.”
Today's match takes place at the Sussex County FA Headquarters at Culver Road, BN15 9AX, kick-off 2pm. Admission is priced at £3 for adults and £1 for Albion season-tickets holders and under-16s.
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