Katy Sandalls: Come on Tractor Girls, it’s time for a cup run!

Ipswich Town women after beating Norwich City 6-1 in the FA Cup Picture: ROSS HALLS

Ipswich Town women after beating Norwich City 6-1 in the FA Cup Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

This month, women’s football columnist Katy Sandalls goes off in search of the hallowed grounds of Wembley and an FA Cup run.

Nothing in English football can ever really beat the sights and sounds of Wembley.

I say that from the incredibly privileged position of having reported from there twice and visited as a spectator on a number of other occasions.

When Wembley's rocking there's little that can really compare.

Nowhere is that perhaps more true than in women's football, where we are still learning how to fill out a big stadium and draw in the bigger crowds.

There are few opportunities for women's players to make it to Wembley these days; in recent weeks we've seen that playing for the national team can be a way onto the hallowed turf, but another way can be through the FA Cup.

This week we learnt who Ipswich Town Women would be facing in the next round of the FA Cup; Portsmouth or Leyton Orient (postponement strikes again!)

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It's a fascinating potential match up; either Orient who are already in Town's league or Portsmouth, who sit a league above.

Best of all it's at home; a blessed relief for the dedicated fans who made the trip down to Chichester to see Town blow away the competition in a fierce 6-0 showing.

Whatever happens in the replay Town have an opportunity to make history.

Much like their male counterparts, Ipswich Town Women don't have the best history when it comes to the FA Cup, regularly getting knocked out in the early rounds.

Last year they were knocked out to New London Lionesses in the second qualifying round. The Lionesses were ranked a full two leagues below Town.

This season has seen a much stronger cup run from the Tractor Girls who pushed aside sides like Royston Town and Basildon with ease before bruising bitter rivals Norwich in an easy 6-1 win.

Now in the third round proper, making it on into the next step is surely the aim for Town who haven't reached the magic number four in recent years.

Getting to this round could prove a game changer as Town could potentially face a Championship or Super League side; in short some of the best players in the country could be coming to Suffolk if they play their cards right.

Drawing such a big clash could bring a number of benefits to our burgeoning local game.

Firstly it gives our girls the chance to play against some of the best players in the country. Testing your skills against high class competitors, even if only for a game, can only help them to improve; benefitting their league run in the process.

Secondly imagine what the benefits could be of drawing an Arsenal or Chelsea fixture at home could be to our fair county more widely.

I for one would be the first to roll out the red carpet for the likes of goal machine Vivianne Miedema and super signing Sam Kerr at the Goldstar Ground, albeit whilst trying to surpress my inner fangirl.

Some of the best players in the world on Suffolk's doorstep could be a real draw; helping to bolster the already growing crowds who are visiting the Goldstar Ground.

It could also attract big financial gains for the club which is nothing to be sniffed at, when you consider that players at Town's level are still working other jobs around playing football.

A good cup run now can be an investment for the future.

Increased media attention and inspiration for local clubs could also be on offer should Town face a big super league name or even a Championship side.

We all know how good our local girls are, it's time the rest of the world knew.

All in all a good cup run is good for everybody. So lets hope Town can put in the goals against their eventual competitors.

So Santa, I've been a really good girl this year. Could you manage to get me that cup run?

I guarantee it will be easier than the pink Nintendo DS my dad spent weeks looking for in 2005.

Whilst I'm asking for things, Santa, could I ask for a big thanks to everyone who has been listening to the Glancing Header podcast.

We've been ovewhelmed by your feedback and hope to have another pod with you very soon. So get subscribing and leaving your reviews.

As this is the last column of the year I'd like to wish you all the merriest of holiday periods and happiest of new years.

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

See you in 2020!

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