Fern Whelan cannot wait to make her Goodison return – and this time in a royal blue shirt.
The defender is back with Everton Ladies after rejoining the Club earlier this month following Notts County Ladies’ liquidation.
The 28-year-old is no stranger to Goodison, having spent nine years with the Blue Girls before leaving for the East Midlands in 2014.
The last time Whelan graced the Grand Old Lady, though, was back in May 2015 when she was part of a Notts County side which triumphed 3-0 against the Toffees in the FA Women’s Cup.
Having come off the bench in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Durham, she is now bidding to start for Andy Spence’s side as Everton take on Watford Ladies on Sunday in a match that could see the hosts take a huge step towards the Spring Series 2 title.
The game at Goodison, which kicks off at 2pm, will be free entry for fans, with bucket collections being made on the day for the Club’s Home Is Where The Heart Is Campaign to support homeless people in Liverpool.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Whelan. “It has been a while since we have played there but it’s a great stadium. I’m really excited to be a part of it again.
“The last time I played at Goodison was really weird. It was only about three months after leaving Everton as well. It was odd – I had been running out in a royal blue shirt for nine seasons so to be out there in something else was strange.
“Of course, you have to play for the team you play for, but even so it was just a shame that I had to be in the side that knocked Everton out of the FA Cup because I know how important that was to players.
“This time I’m looking forward to doing it back in a blue shirt.”
Sunday’s match is the final part of Goodison Week, which started with the Under-23s’ season finale against Liverpool on Monday night, followed by the first team’s Premier League clash with Watford on Friday.
Whelan is confident the Goodison pitch will suit Everton’s style of play, as they look to preserve top spot in the table ahead of next week’s final match at London Bees.
“It’s a massive opportunity for us,” she added. “It is not often we get the chance to play on such a perfect pitch. We know we will be able to play the type of football we know we can – sometimes you can’t do that on some of the pitches we play on – so to play at Goodison will suit us.
“It brings the fans along, as well, and it will make for a great occasion. Hopefully we’ll get a big turnout and it’s free entry so it’s a great chance to come and see the Ladies’ team play.
“It will be great when you get there, with all your family and friends coming along, as well. More fans makes for a better fixture and a better atmosphere but it will be a case of not getting overwhelmed by the occasion.
“There is a job to be done in getting the three points against Watford. As soon as we get out there, hopefully we can just treat it like any other game and it won’t affect the performance in negative away.”
The funds raised from the Home Is Where The Heart Is campaign will be used to purchase, and operate, a house close to Goodison, which will offer 16 to 23-year-olds who have fallen on hard times, or have perhaps fallen out of the care system, a roof over their heads.
For more information, and details on how to donate to the campaign, click here.