Continental Cup final: Arsenal Ladies’ Kelly Smith previews Notts County clash
PUBLISHED: 12:48 29 October 2015 | UPDATED: 12:48 29 October 2015
Kelly Smith is hoping Arsenal Ladies can end the season on a high note on Sunday by claiming the Continental Cup for a fourth time and provide her with a late birthday gift.
Having missed out on next season’s Champions League by finishing third in the Women’s Super League, the three-times winners have reached a fifth consecutive Continental Cup final.
Former Welwyn Garden City resident Smith, who turns 37 today (Thursday), has missed the latter stages of the season with an injury sustained against Sunderland in April.
The MBE and ex-England striker told the Welwyn Hatfield Times that claiming the cup again would be significant for her team.
“It’s a big step for the club,” she said.
“Last season was difficult for us, we’ve improved and we want to pick up the last piece of silverware to prove our season was a success, finishing third meant we missed out on the Champions League, but we are hopeful we can lift that trophy.”
The Gunners, who have WGC’s Alex Scott and former University of Hertfordshire students Danielle Carter and Jordan Nobbs in their ranks, have saved some of their best displays of the season for the competition which included knocking out Manchester City 1-0 in the quarter-finals.
They face Notts County in the final on Sunday at Rotherham United’s New York Stadium, in a clash being shown on BT Sport, kick-off 3pm.
“We know it will be a difficult game,” added player-assistant coach Smith.
“Notts County are a good, physical, direct side and we know we have to match them physically, technically once we get the ball down and play and get our confidence, we should see the game out, but you never know.
“It depends what kind of mentality players have on the day and whether nerves are involved.
“We have been preparing the team for the last few weeks, even though the England and Spanish players have been away [on international duty], and we have had limited numbers, but everyone is back Thursday (today) so we will have a couple of days to get our tactics and ideas across and watch some videos and sit down with the team and go through the game.
“They [the Arsenal players] are really hungry for it, you can see that in training, they don’t want to get injured, this is about keeping the fitness levels up, but they are really excited and up for it.”
See more from Kelly Smith in Wednesday’s Welwyn Hatfield Times as she tried out a NASA engineered anti-gravity treadmill at the BodyBalance Physiotherapy Centre in Hatfield.
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