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Katy Sandalls: What's next for Tractor Girls after their historic FA Cup win?

PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 January 2020

Town Women players celebrate at the full time whistle as they beat Portsmouth 1-0 in the FA Cup third round Photo: ROSS HALLS

Town Women players celebrate at the full time whistle as they beat Portsmouth 1-0 in the FA Cup third round Photo: ROSS HALLS

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With an historic FA Cup fourth round tie set, Katy Sandalls examines what's next for the Tractor Girls and the big role fans have played this season.

Abbie Lafayette in action for Town Women during their 1-0 FA Cup win over Portsmouth Photo: ROSS HALLSAbbie Lafayette in action for Town Women during their 1-0 FA Cup win over Portsmouth Photo: ROSS HALLS

The decorations are down, Christmas is over and women's football is back in full swing.

Unlike the men's game, women don't play over the Christmas period, with most of the leagues having a two or three week break before starting up again in January.

So it's been great for teams start to play once more -and what a start it's been for some of our sides as well!

Last month I wished for the Tractor Girls to go on a cup run, and boy did they deliver.

A 1-0 win over Portsmouth helped them to make history and get through to the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time.

With Sunday's win we filled our head with dreams of a top team clash with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City all entering the draw.

MORE: Tractor Girls to face Huddersfield in FA Cup after historic victory over Pompey

Instead it was revealed that Town would be playing Huddersfield, away.

Ah. Not quite what I was hoping for!

But perhaps, like with some Christmas presents, the draw was better than what I had asked for.

Town have a real chance to make it through to the fifth round this time - which may not have not been the case if the likes of Kerr or Miedema had been on the pitch.

Huddersfield play at the same level as Portsmouth, a league above Town in the FAWNL northern division.

Last year they made it through to the fifth round of the cup but their manager, Ashley Vickers, has already said that he is under no illusions as to how tough the tie with the Tractor Girls is going to be, given their flying season so far.

So what is on offer if Town go on and make it past Huddersfield?

Ipswich Town players celebrate Paige Peake's winning goal as the Tractor Girls progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time Photo: ROSS HALLSIpswich Town players celebrate Paige Peake's winning goal as the Tractor Girls progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time Photo: ROSS HALLS

Well, a fifth round tie would again bring up the possibility of the big guns depending on how some fixtures, including a Manchester derby, go.

Although as was pointed out to me the other day; who wouldn't want to say that they made it further through the cup than say Manchester United?

The draw also pulled up some FAWNL clashes which could see Town playing another team in their league or just one rung above.

The benefit of this of course would mean that again Town could have a good chance of going through again.

What would it mean to be able to say Ipswich Town had made the quarter-finals of the FA Cup?

While we can't get ahead of ourselves too much, it's an exciting prospect for fans who have really been proving their support this season.

It's been heartening to see the increase in support for the side in the past few months.

Paige Peake celebrates her goal with Eloise King and Lindsey Cooper as Town Women progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time Photo: ROSS HALLSPaige Peake celebrates her goal with Eloise King and Lindsey Cooper as Town Women progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time Photo: ROSS HALLS

With a new fan supporters group and general interest in the side peaking, the Tractor Girls can surely only go up from here.

And I do wonder how much that support has helped to bolster Town this year: top of the league and with a good FA Cup run still in place you have to think that it is definitely playing a role.

What they need - and indeed other women's sides in our region need - is you to stick with them.

Help them break attendance records and keep that belief going throughout the rest of the season.

With support behind them who knows what the limits to our Suffolk teams could be?

So this 2020 I want you to pledge to get out their and watch our female footballers play.

Take a trip to the Goldstar or watch our other high-flying eastern region sides like Needham Market, East Bergholt, Newmarket or Sudbury.

Venture to your local Suffolk women's side and watch a cracking game of football.

Last year's women's football weekend showed nationally what could be done if we all ventured out to watch a game: increased attendances, exciting atmospheres and great football.

It's all the more important now with Euro 2021 just a year away now, and venues across the country set to host some of the best teams in Europe.

Elsewhere its been transfer season; the greatest will they, won't they love story of all.

At this early stage Town have had one confirmed transfer, Aimee Stretch heading out on duel registration to Newmarket Town.

Our latest Glancing Header podcast is out this week so please do give it a listen in all the usual places.

This month we talk about the FA Cup, transfer season including the "Sam Kerr effect" and look back on England's game against Germany at Wembley in November.

As ever your support is really appreciated.

Stay in touch with all the women's football goings on by following @Glancing_Header on Twitter and Glancing Header on Instagram.

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