PLYMOUTH Argyle Ladies face a huge challenge on Sunday when they entertain Crawley Wasps in the third round of the National League Cup.
The tie is being played at Argyle’s temporary home at Devon FA headquarters at Coach Road, Newton Abbot, (1pm).
The teams going into the cup match in contrasting forms. Argyle have lost five of their last six matches, although their form in the last two games has improved dramatically.
However, their Sussex visitors have won all 18 of their matches to date. Crawley head the South East League Division One and are enjoying remarkable runs in cup competitions.
Crawley have beaten Queens Park Rangers, Chichester City and Coventry United on their superb FA Cup run where they will now meet multi cup winners Arsenal in the fourth round. They have also beaten Oxford United on their way to this third round League Cup tie.
One thing Argyle will have to watch out for is Crawley’s ability to score from all over the pitch as they are led by Sian Heather (13), Emma Plewa (12), Naomi Cole and Megan Stow (10 each) and Faye Rabson and Kemina Webber (nine each).
The Pilgrims will hope to have a fully fit squad available for the tie.
Kayley Lane has returned from Australia and Greek under-20 international Panagiota Papaioannou has finally arrived back in the UK after being snowbound while on holiday in Greece.
Jessie Jones missed Argyle’s 2-1 defeat at league leaders Chichester City last week due to sickness but is expected to be available.
However, the Greens are still without top striker Natasha Knapman who is still recovering from long-term injury.
Joint manager Trevor Rodd said: “We have a clean bill of health. It is going to be a very tough game as Crawley are a very good team – they are doing what we did last season with our cup runs. They beat Coventry last week so they have to be a decent side.”
Argyle’s probably squad is: Lindsay Rogers, Leah Burridge, Ebony Dover, Darcey Hepworth, Katie Middleton, Mollie Taylor, Stephanie Beck, Zoe Cunningham, Rebecca Dandridge, Helen Bleazard, Amber Pollock, Jessica Jones, Kayley Lane, Faye Ivall.
With the news that the pitch at Coach Road is unavailable for the re-arranged Watford match on January 20, Argyle have announced that the National League Southern Premier Division match will be played at the University of St Mark & St John with a kick-off at the earlier time of 12noon.
Meanwhile, Argyle’s development team will face arguably their sternest test of the season when they host one of their title rivals Alphington at the Salt Mill Saltash on Sunday (2pm).
Four teams are still in the race for the title, but Plympton did suffer a blow last weekend when they lost 4-0 at Weston Mendip. Bideford are the other team in the mix.
Argyle’s development team scored 16 goals against Weston-super-Mare last week, but know this Sunday will be a completely different test.
The young Pilgirms have a few minor injuries and knocks but do expect to be able to name a full strength squad from: Claire Squires, Gabi Alphous, Shania Fenlon, Maya Ridge, Hannah Brock, Nicola Champion, Alex Hugh, Rachel Javan, Abbie Scurr, Jodie Randall, Becky Parkyn, Kelly Vinnicombe, Kiara Robins, Tamsin Medd-Gill, Sally Salter, Rachel Heron, Vicki Fannon.