Ipswich Town Women bid to make history in FA Cup as Saints visit

Newcastle vs Ipswich Town Women

Ipswich Town women are bidding to make FA Cup history this weekend - Credit: Ross Halls

Ipswich Town Women will be looking to make history as they face Southampton in the last 16 of the FA Cup at the Goldstar Ground in Felixstowe on Sunday. 

The Tractor Girls' FA Cup journey began in November as they won 2-0 at MK Dons, before a 4-0 home win over Crawley Wasps in the second round, while the third round saw the Tractor Girls travel to Plough Lane as they beat AFC Wimbledon 2-0 in the capital, 

Town progressed to the last 16 courtesy of a 1-0 win away to Newcastle United, with the Tractor Girls looking to go one better than their 2019-20 cup run which saw them knocked out by eventual winners Man City at this stage of the competition.  

Ipswich Town Women vs MK Dons

Joe Sheehan will lead his side against Southampton this weekend - Credit: Ross Halls

Joe Sheehan's side have faced third-tier rivals Southampton twice already this season, with the Saints winning the first encounter 1-0 in the League Cup, before the Blues won 2-0 in the league at Southampton.  

Speaking ahead of the game, Town No.8 Abbie Lafayette said: “We’re very excited for the game, I have family coming down and looking forward to it. 

“I know it's going to be a tough game and the fact they've beaten us on our home soil already this season gives us that extra motivation to win. 

"To progress to the next round would be great, and even better against Southampton, so it’s exciting times. 

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“I’m looking forward to playing in front of a big crowd. It makes a big difference having our fans there to support.” 

The Tractor Girls have the support of men’s first-team manager Kieran McKenna, who would love to see them progress further and make their own history in the competition. 

MK Dons vs Ipswich Town Women

Abbie Lafayette is a key player for Ipswich Town Women - Credit: Ross Halls

“It would be brilliant,” McKenna said. 

“Since I’ve come in, I’ve had some good conversations with Joe and the people involved with that team and it’s been great to hear and see what a successful season they’ve been having. 

“Obviously to reach that stage of the FA Cup is a really good achievement already but we’re all hoping that they can go one further. 

“Southampton are good rivals in that division, so it’ll be a difficult game but I know they’re all looking forward to it, preparing well and it would be great for the whole club if they could make that next step and go to the quarter-finals. 

“Certainly we wish them all the best, everyone at the club is behind them and we hope it goes our way on Sunday.” 

While McKenna’s schedule means watching Town’s women in action is difficult, the Northern Irishman is enjoying the community spirit within the club, with both the men and women using the same training facilities. 

“It’s hard to get to see them too much in terms of the matches because we’re travelling and going to our own matches and we’re often training and working when they play,” he said. 

“But in terms of the training ground, it’s lovely here, everyone’s in close vicinity, there are shared facilities and shared sites. 

“Whether that’s with the (men’s) 23s and their staff and the 18s men’s teams or with the ladies’ teams, everyone’s very close here, everyone’s working from the same site and communicating, trying to develop their own teams but also share any information or any insight that they can that will help the other teams as well. 

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna speaks to the press after the game.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna says he was surprised by Kieron Dyer quitting as Under-23s manager this week. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

“Everyone’s pulling in the same direction and it’s been nice to get initial involvement with those teams, but certainly over the course of time going forward in the summer, it would be nice to spend a little bit more time with them and get to see a more of their matches more at close hand. 

“And it’s very important that the whole club is working off the same hymn sheet and pulling in the same direction and working off the ethos and vision. 

“I think that starts with the teams on the pitch, whether that’s the men’s team, the academy teams or the women’s team, we all have a very close link that we share and enjoy and we want to grow that link.” 

Tickets for Saturday’s game, which kicks off at 2pm, cost £6.50 for adults and £4.50 for seniors, with Under 16s free.