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Aberdeen Women looking to cause SWPL Cup upset against Hibernian

Aberdeen celebrate their win against Motherwell in the group stages of the SWPL Cup
Aberdeen celebrate their win against Motherwell in the group stages of the SWPL Cup

Aberdeen Women return to action this Sunday as they host Hibernian at Balmoral Stadium in the quarter-finals of the SWPL Cup.

The Dons play Hibs after losing 1-0 to the Edinburgh side in SWPL1 only two weeks ago.

The result will be long forgotten by the time the referee blows the whistle on Sunday as Aberdeen look to progress to the last four of the league cup.

The quarter-final tie will be the Dons’ first knockout game this season, having progressed to this stage in the competition as runner-ups of SWPL Cup Group A.

Aberdeen co-boss Gavin Beith insists his young side will be up for the high-stakes occasion against one of Scotland’s top sides.

He said: “There is always pressure in cup competitions, it’s a different kind of pressure from what you face each week in the league.

“In the league it’s about constantly picking up points, but against Hibs on Sunday it is an all or nothing, knock-out game.

“It’s a pressure that you can thrive on, especially in a game where you might have to dig deep to come from behind or retain your lead to keep your place in the competition.

“In terms of preparing for the game itself, we will approach it exactly the same way that we’ve done in every other match.

“We know what we want to do, how we want to play and when we want to impose ourselves on the opposition.”

Irrespective of the scoreline, the game against the Hibees a fortnight ago was an assured defensive Dons performance, having kept some of the league’s in-form players at bay.

Beith wants his side to build on their defensive credibility and look to create more chances further up the pitch.

The co-boss explained: “The last time we played them, we probably didn’t play as well as we could have.

“It was a really good performance defensively. In terms of attack, that was something that Aberdeen was renowned for last season and I don’t think we’ve seen that this season just yet.

“It’s something that we will be looking to address. We want to be on the front foot a lot more and take the game into their half.

“We know what Hibs are about and the threats that they have in the likes of Rachael Boyle, but we know what we can do.

“It’s now up to us to execute that to the best of our ability to creates chances further up the park.”

A return to Balmoral Stadium

Beith believes a week off for the Dons between the two sides’ last meeting has only helped Aberdeen’s preparation.

AFC Women co-manager Gavin Beith.

He said: “The first part of the season has been pretty fast and furious with lots of games.

“We trained twice last week and the team were off on Sunday, but it’s been good for the players to have some time to recharge the batteries.

“Last week was just about having fun with the players that we had as some were away on international duty or on holiday.

“We’ve been back in this week and we will be ready to go against Hibs for what should be a good game.”

The two-week gap between fixtures also looks to have aided the return of some Aberdeen players who have been sidelined due to injury.

Jenna Penman is likely to miss out after picking up a small knock on Scotland under-19s international duty, but a few other influential names have ramped up their recovery.

Beith added: “I think Sunday has probably come a little bit early for Jenna, but we have players available that will now have that opportunity to step in for her.

“Amy Strath and Bayley Hutchison were back in training last week, so we’re starting to look a bit more positive on the injury front as they could be included in the matchday squad.

“Kelly Forrest is back in doing some light running now, too, so that’s really positive as well.”

Aberdeen Women host Hibernian at Balmoral Stadium on Sunday with the quarter-final tie kicking off at 4pm. Entry is £5, with under-16s getting in for free.

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