Durham Women face the biggest game in their short history when Chelsea Women visit the North East on Sunday – and defender Becky Salicki says the side are keen to embrace the hype around the fixture.
The Wildcats will welcome a Chelsea side packed with international talent and household names to New Ferens Park (DH1 1GG) on Sunday, March 17 (kick-off 12pm) in the Quarter Final of the FA Cup.
And while the Blues are heavy favourites for the clash, Durham will be confident of an upset after already beating higher-level opposition in the shape of Everton and Bristol City during the current campaign.
But those tests pale in comparison to the one posed by a Chelsea outfit who are the current league and FA Cup holders – with Salicki admitting the game is undoubtedly the biggest in the club’s decade-long history.
“We’ve come against big teams before, but in terms of the stature, the history, Chelsea are one of the best teams in Europe,” she said.
“It will be a great game to be involved in.
“When it got announced I was swearing at the telly, but I was also very, very excited.
“It’s a big game and it’s what we play football for. We want to say we’ve played against some of the best players in the country.”
A crowd of around 1,500 is expected to descend on New Ferens Park for the historic fixtures, with the Wildcats having already seen record sales for the clash.
And Salicki knows that the large home support could prove key on Sunday – as they have done in the past.
“We just wanted anyone at home, to be fair,” she admitted.
“We enjoy going away but to be at home, in front of our own fans is ideal.
“The fans were fantastic when we played Manchester United and they pushed us on on that day.
“On the day, anything can happen.
“The belief in the camp is fantastic and everyone is buzzing for it.
“Yeah, we’re coming up against some of the best players in Europe – but we’ll give it our all and with the fans behind us we’ll give ourselves the best shot we’ve got.”
Indeed, Salicki is keen to see the side embrace the big build-up to the fixture, and knows that come Sunday the pressure will be firmly on the visitors.
“We’ve got no pressure on us essentially,” added Salicki.
“They’ve got to come up, they’ve got expectations and they’ve got to get so far.
“There’s no expectations for us. We’ve done fantastically to get to the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup, we did it last year too obviously it wasn’t a great result.
“We can give them a good game and I’ve got no doubt that we can.
“We’ve got a game plan that we’ve been working on, and there’s no pressure on.
“We’ll give them a game, and we’ll see where we’re at come the end of the game.”
Tickets for the highly-anticipated clash remain on sale at durham.fawsl.com and can also be purchased on the day of the game, priced at £5 for adults and £2 for concessions.