WSL preview: Dixon targets cup surprise

DURHAM captain Caroline Dixon has warned Manchester City not to expect a walkover in tomorrow’s FA Continental Cup tie at New Ferens Park (2pm).

The Wildcats suffered a heavy 7-1 defeat at the hands of reigning WSL 1 champions Liverpool in the competition last weekend, and they face another tough task in what will be their final Continental Cup game of the season.

Durham sit bottom of Group Two having failed to win any of their four games, while City sit top and look on course to progress to the semi-finals after three wins. Nick Cushing’s side is littered with international stars, including England quartet Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Toni Duggan and Karen Bardsley, but Dixon insists the Wildcats are relishing testing themselves against top-flight opposition again.

“We approach each game wanting to win and we are always confident that we can pull off an upset,” the midfielder-turned-defender said.

“Manchester City have gone from strength to strength since we played them in the pre-season. They’ve got some great players and they’re doing quite well in the league.

“It’s always nice to play against the top teams; that’s what everyone plays the game for. We’ve not had the best start to the season, but we’re not just in the cup to make up the numbers.”

Durham’s North-East neighbours Sunderland are also in action in Group Two when they host WSL 1 side Everton at the Hetton Centre (2pm).

The WSL 2 leaders have begun their promotion charge with six wins from their opening six games, but have stuttered in the Continental Cup against top-flight opposition with defeat to Manchester City last time out as well as a 6-0 hammering at Liverpool.

However, with Everton sitting bottom of WSL 1 after a poor start to the season Lady Black Cats’ midfielder Rebekah Bass believes the game is another great chance for Claire Robinson’s team to test their top flight credentials.

“The game against Liverpool has been put in the past because it didn’t go as we planned,” the 19-year-old said.

“We’ve got to go into the game against Everton and prove that we can play against WSL 1 teams.

“Our aim is to get promoted this season, so we’ll have to get used to playing against this kind of opposition week-in, week-out.

“We go into every game thinking that we’ve got the chance to win so we will have to go in and see how everyone performs on the day.

“Both the league and the Continental Cup group could come down to goal difference in the end, so we will continue to try and score as many as we can while not conceding many at the other end.”

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