Preview: Aston Villa LFC v Doncaster Rovers Belles

Sheila Edmunds lifts the Belles' first FA Women's Cup trophy in 1983 at Sincil Bank. Photo: Sheila Edmunds
Sheila Edmunds lifts the Belles' first FA Women's Cup trophy in 1983 at Sincil Bank. Photo: Sheila Edmunds

Sheila Edmunds is somebody who knows all about FA Cup finals and the magic of the cup in a Belles shirt - and she hopes history can repeat itself.

For the six-time FA Women’s Cup winning Belles were a dominant force in this particular competition back in the 1980s and 90s.

Belles’ founding member Edmunds, the club’s current president, played a major part in their success and knows all too well about the beauty of such a prestigious trophy.

“The FA Cup is still very special to me,” she said.

“Nothing compares to winning a cup final.

“They are one-off games where anything can happen and I have been privileged to win six.”

This Sunday sees Belles kick-off the new season under the guidance of head coach Gordon Staniforth, who replaced John Buckley at the helm late last year.

And cup-winning stalwart Sheila firmly believes the 2014 side have what it takes to go on a strong cup run - starting with a tough third round test at Aston Villa on Sunday.

“I’m sure the girls will be hungry to win,” she said.

“Training is going very well and the girls have responded well to Gordon [Staniforth] and Julie [Chipchase - club director].

“History won’t win us football matches but I hope it will contribute to motivating the team and help them feel proud to put on a Belles shirt.”

Staniforth echoes Sheila’s thoughts and has also added her husband Paul Edmunds - Belles’ most successful manager - to his coaching staff to take over scouting duties.

“Paul is doing this job voluntarily and I couldn’t think of a better person to do so, he’s fantastic to have here.

“He’s also been there with the Belles historically and has a lot of qualities that we want at this club.

“He’s been out to scout Aston Villa LFC and his reports back will be invaluable in our preparations.

“I don’t like to leave anything to chance, I want to be as prepared as we can be.

“We’ll be getting together as a team this week to go through our preparations.”

Staniforth was on hand to watch Belles’ Development Squad hold Liverpool Reserves to a 0-0 draw on Sunday (see page 104) and has stated that everyone in the squad has a chance of making the trip to the Midlands - with right-sided player Molly Johnson likely to be in contention.

“She has got every chance of being part of the squad and getting her place on the bench,” Staniforth said.

“I want to say to all of the youngsters that they have a chance. That’s how we need to be, competition for places can only be good for a side.”

Talented youngster Ashleigh Mills has been ruled out of the clash following a stress fracture picked up during England training.