Ladies special - Wendy Martin
26 February 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs Ladies are hoping to make history on two fronts when they face Aston Villa in the FA Women's Cup on Sunday.
Target one is a positive result against the team from a level above, the Women's Super League. Villa play in WSL 2 (the country's top sides in WSL 1) and if successful, it will be Spurs' first win against WSL opposition.
Target two follows on from target one - again, if successful, Spurs will match their furthest run in the FA Cup and make it into the fifth round for the third time. It's a feat they managed last season when they were beaten by a WSL1 side Notts County packed full of internationals.
Still unbeaten in cup competition this season and with two cup finals in the bag, we asked key player and long-serving midfielder Wendy Martin just what it means to take on a WSL side in the most prestigious of women's cup competitions.
The team remains unbeaten in the cups, has reached two finals – what is it about the cups this season?
Wendy: "I think there is a real hunger for success amongst the team. We were unfortunate to lose in the Ryman Cup Final last year and are looking to better that this season and pick up some silverware. We are working extremely hard on and off the pitch, the team spirit is fantastic and we are hoping to continue our unbeaten cup run."
Even the you’ve reached those two finals and therefore won two semi-finals, is Villa the biggest game of the season?
Wendy: "Villa is a massive game for us and it will definitely be the biggest test for us so far this season. It is always nice to progress in the FA cup and test yourself against quality opposition. We have some fantastic players in the squad and are playing some good football at the moment so we are confident we can pick a result up on Sunday."
Where do you see the team at the moment?
Wendy: "The team is going from strength to strength at the moment. We have signed a few new players who have added further depth to the squad and there is a real buzz about the club at the moment. We proved last season that we are able to compete at the top level and hopefully this year will have a trophy to show for all our hard work."
Below: Wendy in action against West Ham earlier in the season
What are you expecting from Villa?
Wendy: "They are a young side but we know Villa are going to be strong and well organised. They picked up a good result against Portsmouth in the previous round so we know it is going to be a tough game."
There were a few surprises with Premier League teams beating WSL teams in the previous round - do the players feel we have a chance against Villa?
Wendy: "Yes 100 per cent. We are focusing on one thing only and that is getting a result against Villa on Sunday. We are confident that if we all work hard and play to the best of our ability we can get a result. Hopefully we will get a good crowd down at Cheshunt FC to cheer us on and see us through to the next round."
How important is the FA Cup to you all and within women’s football?
Wendy: "I think the magic of the FA cup is still very much there in women's football. It has always been the ultimate achievement. That's why our priority is getting a result and being in the draw for the next round."
How much did the players learn from playing WSL 1 side Notts County in the FA Cup last season?
Wendy: "It was a fantastic experience, the stadium, the pitch, playing in front of a big crowd, playing against some of the best players in the country, it was definitely one of the highlights of the season. The squad has come on massively since last season and we are playing some really good football. Last year we were able to compete for 75 minutes but Notts County train full-time and their fitness levels and sharpness was better. This season we are now training three times a week instead of the two last season and we have brought on board a strength and conditioning coach and a sports science specialist to help us compete physically at the top level."
Finally, a question to you Wendy, you are a Spurs fan through and through – how much does it mean for you to play for the team you support and to see the continued development of the team and the club?
Wendy: "It's a dream come true. It's like a family at Spurs, the coaching is first class and has really helped me to progress and develop as a player. I have been at the club five years now and the progress the club has made in just a few seasons is remarkable and it has been a real privilege to be a part of that. It's great to see the men doing so well this season as well and let's hope between us we can pick up a few pieces of silverware this season!"