Gateshead Ladies manager Simon Johnson knows his side can’t afford to be complacent as they gear up for Sunday’s Vitality Women’s FA Cup third round qualifying tie.
The Heed face Harrogate Town Ladies at Gateshead International Stadium (4G pitch) at 2pm this weekend looking to make it to the first round proper as the men’s team did in midweek.
“It’s great exposure for myself and the players having this experience in the FA Cup,” said Johnson.
“The last two games in the competition have been positive and it’ll be another big day for the club on Sunday.
“We had no real goals in terms of wanting to reach a specific round, for myself I wanted to see how far we could go, being new to the competition as a club and for the majority of the squad.
“I’ve done some research myself and spoken to some coaches in Harrogate’s league, and I think it will be similar to the Spennymoor game with two teams wanting to play football.
“Following the last couple of results, it’s about looking at what can we do better and how can we show our character from those setbacks while staying true to our identity.
“We’ll need to take our opportunities on Sunday, as we might not get as many as we have done in other games, so we need to be clinical if we are to progress.”
The Heed have dropped to fourth in Durham FA Women’s League One following a 1-1 draw away to title contenders Birtley Town, before a 5-2 defeat at home to Hartlepool Pools Youth Ladies last weekend.
Johnson admits those results have given him food for thought heading into the biggest game of the team’s brief history, adding: “It’s been a learning curve.
“Teams will punish us if we’re complacent, but we also need to avoid straying from our identity and our style of play.
“The minute we start to revert to type or things we’ve done in the past then there’s an opportunity for teams to take points from us, and that’s happened in the last two weeks.
“What was pleasing despite the defeat last week was that our identity was there, and the amount of chances we created was a major plus.”
Johnson will have a boost to his squad this weekend with the return of Amber Douglas following her suspension, while Jade Anderson’s departure offers opportunities to players on the fringes of the starting 11.
“I’m looking to players who have been wanting game time who now have an opportunity to take that chance,” he said.
“We are looking to bring a few players in to help us out in terms of matching our outgoings, but when we do bring players in it’s up to me to make sure they’re the right fit for the club.”