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Chaplen Champing At The Bit

by Hamish Dufton @Everton

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Everton Ladies midfielder Brooke Chaplen insists the Blues are champing at the bit to get their season underway on Sunday.

Having not played a competitive game since last October, the players had to bide their time through the winter break before returning to training in January.

But the Ladies' season finally kicks off this weekend, with the Blues in FA Cup action away at Oxford United in the last 16.

While this round features WSL clubs for the first time, Oxford, of the fourth tier, have already beaten higher-ranked opposition in Newcastle on their way to the latter stages.

For Chaplen and her team-mates, the return to competitive action cannot come soon enough.

“We have had a couple of friendlies but it’s definitely felt like we have been in pre-season for a very, very long time!” she said. “Pre-season is always tough and we have been training three or four nights a week at Finch Farm.

"We have had a few games just to get our sharpness back and we have had some really good results and positive performances. Everybody now just wants to take that into a game where it matters.

“Everyone is busting a gut to get going. Obviously the senior and Under-23s England squads have been away recently so we had to wait for everyone to get back. But as soon as they were, we were all excited to get going again.”

While Everton head into the unknown when they travel down to the Kassam Stadium, that will not diminish their determination heading into a competition they last won back in 2010.

“We haven’t come across Oxford at all really – I personally have not played against them,” reflected Chaplen. “But we will go into that game trying to put on the best performance we can.  

“We won’t worry too much about the opposition; we will be more concerned with how we want to play this season.

"We mean to start as we want to go on. No matter what the opposition we face, the girls will play the game like they would against other team.”

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