Ipswich Town Women's Eva Hubbard relishing chance to take on Manchester City in the Women's FA Cup
Mellis’ Eva Hubbard is understandably excited to be coming up against England internationals Steph Houghton, Ellen White and their Manchester City team-mates, but she also has no intention of being star-stuck.
Nineteen-year-old Hubbard is set to be a part of the record-breaking Ipswich Town squad that takes on the all-conquering Citizens at the Academy Stadium on Sunday in the fifth round of the Women’s FA Cup (2pm).
The Blues have made history just by reaching this stage, with the FA Women’s Premier League South East Division One outfit the first from Tier 4 to ever feature in the last 16.
Up against a team packed full of international stars, who play three levels higher and are looking to defend the trophy they lifted at Wembley last season, the odds are firmly stacked against Hubbard and her team-mates.
However, the former Hartismere School pupil has insisted that the Blues will not be making the trip north to simply make up the numbers.
“Everyone is buzzing. To be playing against the likes of Steph Houghton and Ellen White, it is hard to comprehend at times,” said Hubbard.
“When I started playing football at the age of seven, I had to play for the boys’ team at Eye Saints because there were no girls’ teams.
“Watching players like Steph and Ellen at World Cups, they were my inspiration.
“It is obviously going to be the biggest challenge anyone in our team has ever faced, but these are the sort of matches we want.
“We are not going up there to try to get a draw or not get beat heavily – we want to win the game.
“The team has already made history, which is amazing, but we want to do this sort of thing every year.
“As players we want to get promoted, play in the Women’s Super League and have FA Cup runs every single season.
“We are keen to get promoted up the leagues as soon as possible, and hopefully the funding from a run like this one will help us to achieve that.
“There is a good link between the first team and the under-21s. It is a very talented squad, everyone has coped well with the game so far and we feel Sunday is just the start of things to come.”
Hubbard also revealed that the team, who will travel up to Manchester tomorrow, are going to be fully prepared for the challenge that lies ahead.
“We have been working hard and along with the under-21s programme, we have access to video analysis so we can see how City play,” she added.
“The men’s side of the club have also helped us, which means we know what formation is best to play and how to deal best with their threats.”
More by this authorLiam Apicella