Baker urges Hatters Ladies to bounce back in the cup

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After suffering back-to-back defeats in the league against Enfield and Gillingham, Luton Town Ladies manager Nikki Baker has urged her players to pick themselves up as they face an important game against Bedford in the County Cup semi-final this afternoon.

The Hatters are current holders of the trophy and have won the competition six times in their history, however their performances of late in the league will be playing in the back of their minds and Baker admitted that they must improve and fast.

Hatters were beaten 2-1 at home by Enfield last month and then suffering a demoralising 10-1 defeat to Gillingham at the weekend, with Jo Rutherford on target, as they slipped to sixth in the FA Women’s Premier League South East table.

Baker said: “We threw a silly game away against Enfield and then another loss on Sunday against Gillingham.

“We have to regroup and quickly. We must look at our shape and how well we can retain the ball.

“We can hurt teams by getting at them, so we will work on that. We have to be mentally stronger and play to our game plan.”

Bedford were relegated last season and now play in the division below Town, although after winning their last three games, they are currently second in the Eastern Region Premier Division.

The two teams met at this stage last year in the County Cup and Town triumphed 2-0 after Natasha Fensome, who is now playing for the opposition, scored a brace for the Hatters.

Town hold a great record against Bedford and defeated them on all four occasions last season as Baker, who has virtually a full squad available for the clash, is hopeful that they can overcome their local rivals once more as she targets another cup final appearance.

She added: “We are the holders of the County Cup and want to retain the trophy.

“We have beaten Bedford several times in a row and we know their threats as well so we have to take care of those.

“We have a fully available squad although new signing Asia Brown who made her debut on Sunday is ineligible through not playing enough games.”

The match takes place at Stockwood Park Athletics Stadium on Sunday, with kick-off 2pm.