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Villa Ladies preview: Hunt hails defence ahead of FA Cup clash
Joe Hunt looks ahead to Sunday's knockout clash.
23rd Feb 2013
Villa Ladies preview: Hunt hails defence ahead of FA Cup clash


Brown

Villa Ladies boss Joe Hunt praised his defence on the eve of their FA Cup fourth round clash with Preston Ladies on Sunday.

Hunt has watched on as his dynamic team have taken apart a string of quality sides in the past few months, with the last defeat coming over four months ago.

While he's salivated over the attacking form of Emma Follis, Carly Davies and Natalie Gibson, he took time this week to hail his defensive aces.

He said: "Our defensive unit has been very good for the majority of the season.

"Led superbly by Dani Petrovic, we have good competition for places.

"Jade Richards, Erin Vaughan and Aoife Mannion can all play centre-back but then we have Jenny Lowe, Laura Cooper and Hayley Crackle competing with Erin and Aoife for full-back positions too.

"Jade has stood out. She has shown what a unbelievable player she is. She's like a Rolls-Royce!

"Jade is elegant on the ball and cruises out of defence to start attacks. Her range of passing is impressive too for a centre-back.

"On numerous occasions on Thursday against Coventry Ladies she nicked it off the opposition forwards and supplied our attacking players.

"At one point they whipped in a dangerous cross that most centre-backs would head out but not Jade.

"She took it on her chest, adjusted her feet and volleyed it out to our right winger! We were just speechless on the bench!

"Then five minutes later she's doing the ugly side of the game and throwing her body in the line of a shot!

"Hopefully she continues like this for the rest of the season!"

Hunt insists confidence is high after their 3-0 away win at Coventry Ladies on Thursday.

He hopes the players can take that into their knock-out clash with North End at Boldmere St Michaels, kick-off 2pm.

He added: "The team are looking forward to the game after our emphatic win in the week.

"The games are coming thick and fast now, which the team loves.

"We are carrying a few injuries but hopefully within the next two weeks they'll all be challenging for places in the squad.

"Our performance on Thursday was a return to how we were playing before the bad weather set in.

"Our intensity for 90 minutes was impressive.

"We are very fortunate to have the Indoor Academy building at Villa Park where we can train twice a week - whatever the weather is like outside!

"Our fitness levels haven't dropped. The team deserve credit for that because it's down to the hard work they put in outside of training."

Sherry McCue, Bethan Merrick, Megan Walsh and Livy Fergusson are all out with ankle injuries.

Squad: Courtney, Cooper, Crackle, Mannion, Lowe, Vaughan, Richards, Petrovic, Merritt, Moran, Stringer, Cusack, Jones, Follis, Davies, Gibson.

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