Lee Walshaw, general manager of Sheffield United Ladies, believes playing at Bramall Lane could inspire the team to FA Cup glory when they face Leeds this weekend.
Dan O’Hearne’s team beat Leicester City Development in the first round of the competition when they last appeared at the club’s home ground 10 months ago.
After being paired with their Yorkshire rivals in the final stage of qualifying for this season’s competition, Walshaw said: “The players, many of whom are Blades fans, are delighted to be offered the opportunity to play at the Lane once again. “They rose to the occasion when they played on the main pitch last term and we hope they do so again this year.”
United, the reigning East Midlands Premier League champions, could face Premier League opposition is they beat their rivals from West Yorkshire. Kevin McCabe, United’s co-owner, and chief executive Andy Birks have both spoken of their desire to see O’Hearne’s squad eventually reach the top-flight of the womens’ game.
“The fact that this game is being played at Bramall Lane further emphasises the club’s commitment to the ladies game,” Walshaw continued. “It is an intriguing match against Leeds. Not only is it a derby, but we play in the FA Premier League Midlands division and they play at exactly the same level but in the North division so the teams will be well matched.
“After winning promotion last season, the ladies have found their feet in the higher division and so should go into the match full of confidence.”
With Chris Wilder’s squad not returning to Championship action until October 14, Walshaw added: “It is an international break for the men’s team so we hope Blades fans will get their football fix by coming down to support the ladies.”
n Sheffield United Ladies versus Leeds United Ladies, Sunday 8 October (noon kick-off). Admission via the Hualing (South) Stand turnstiles is priced £3 adults and £2 concessions.