Kirby: I’m ready for this one

Fran Kirby has good memories of her last semi-final against Manchester City, and the Blues No.14 hopes to create a few more when the two sides meet at Kingsmeadow on Sunday.

The Blues host our big rivals in the last four of the Continental Tyres Cup, with the winners going on to face Arsenal or Reading in the final.

Two years ago we met City in the semi-final of the Women's FA Cup, a game which was settled by Kirby with the last kick of extra time to send us to Wembley.

'It's definitely up there,' she said when asked if it was her best moment as a footballer. 'There were so many emotions for me throughout that game. Firstly, I was really disappointed not to start, but then being able to come on and scoring with the last kick of the game... you couldn't write it, you couldn't think of anything better.

'The celebrations after the goal were incredible because we all knew how important it was. I think Stuart Searle [goalkeeper coach] was the first one to get to me and he sort of rugby tackled me to the ground!

'I think there was also a big feeling of relief, too. We'd worked so hard to get back into the game and then to win it at the end was great.'

This weekend's game pits the top two sides in the WSL1 against each other, as well as featuring the form player in the country after Kirby was named Player of the Month after an excellent run in December which included a hat-trick in the last round against Liverpool.

 

'Some people are saying this is the final, but we're not looking at it like that,' she said. 'It's two of the best teams in the country and it's going to be a really exciting game, a bit like our derby at the weekend – two teams constantly attacking each other.

'I've not played City too often as I've had injuries for a few of our games, so I'm excited to be able to get at them. Obviously I know a lot of the girls there though England – and they know plenty about me, too – so it's going to be really nice to get a full run-out against them, 100 per cent fit and ready to give it my all.'

Home advantage could also be a key factor and Kirby hopes to see a repeat of the 2,500 supporters who attended last weekend's game against Arsenal.

'It's massive,' she added. 'That was a big part of our last semi-final against them, the fans were absolutely amazing. Every time I watch the goal back, I can hear the crowd going crazy. When you're out there on the pitch, you can really feel it when your fans are behind you and supporting you, so it's going to be absolutely massive.'