MARC SURTEES says there is no pressure on Woodley United Ladies as they prepare for an historic day in the club’s history.
The Kestrels are set to travel to face AFC Wimbledon Ladies on Sunday (2pm) having reached the third qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time.
However, with Wimbledon sitting top of a league two tiers higher than Woodley, the task is certainly a difficult one.
And Surtees just wants his players to enjoy the day at Sutton United.
“It is a very relaxed approach,” the Woodley boss told The Wokingham Paper.
“There is no pressure on the ladies.
“We are going to enjoy the experience. It’s not often they’ll get to play at a ground like that and they’re all very relaxed.
“We’re not putting any pressure on them, we just want to go and enjoy the occasion, do ourselves justice and see what comes out the end of it.”
It has not been a straightforward path to this stage with Woodley thrashed 9-0 by Oxford City Ladies, who play a league below Wimbledon, in the first qualifying round.
However, Oxford were subsequently thrown out of the cup for fielding an ineligible player, handing Woodley a pass back in.
And they made the most of it with a 2-1 win over Alton Ladies in the next round to set up this clash with Wimbledon.
“It’s no excuse but we didn’t have the players available against Oxford,” said Surtees.
“It was the first game of the season and we still had players on holiday.
“But they played an unregistered player and the right thing happened and we were reinstated.
“We went on to beat Alton and now we’ve got this exciting tie to look forward to.
“We’ve got one player not available so we’re at probably the fullest strength we could be apart from that.”
Despite the gap between Woodley and Wimbledon in the league pyramid, Surtees is confident in his side’s ability.
“In the past we have had players that have stepped up to that level and higher,” he said.
“I think we can compete.
“There obviously is a big gap, but we’ve got players within our squad who I feel could play higher if they wanted to.”
He added: “We’re going with no expectations.
“We’re going to enjoy the occasion and the facilities, put up a good display and do ourselves proud.
“It will go down in the club as a bit of history and, with a bit of luck, we can continue that history.”