AFC Bournemouth women’s team boss Steve Cuss has hinted at the prospect of some squad rotation ahead of their next defence of the Adopt South Hampshire Women’s Senior Cup.
The Cherries face Southampton Women reserves in a quarter-final tie at Test Park, Southampton on Sunday (1.45pm kick-off).
Cuss’s team lifted the trophy following a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Southampton RTC Academy at Portsmouth’s Fratton Park headquarters last season.
Lucy Cooper bagged the only goal in November as the Cherries knocked out favourites Portsmouth for a second season in succession, the Hampshire club having previously won the trophy for 13 years on the trot.
Cooper, new signing Kenni Thompson and Alisha Buckingham were on target as the Cherries maintained their 100 per cent winning start in the National League with a 3-0 victory over Swindon Town last weekend.
With the exception of long-term injury victim Holly Humphreys, Cuss is again likely to have a full-strength squad at his disposal when they meet the Sirens who are currently fifth in National League Reserve South West, a division below the Cherries first team.
Previewing the cup clash, Cuss told afcb.co.uk: “It took a fantastic all-round performance to knock out Portsmouth in the last round and we are pleased to still be in the competition.
“It was good to go through as we won’t have a spare week and will play a game. It will give us a chance to play again and to use the whole squad, like we did against Swindon.
“Five players came off the bench against Swindon and there were probably two or three who didn’t make the 16 and deserved to.
“We’ve got a really competitive squad and everybody is itching to play. We have a few little aches and pains but we will try to pick the right team to be able to win the game.
“If that means a few players starting and moving it around a bit, that’s something we will look at it in training.”
Asked specifically about back-up goalkeeper Katie Scadding, who saved three penalties and scored one herself in the shootout in the final last season, Cuss added: “It was a good competition for Katie last season and a good competition for us as well.
“She has been training really well and I have been really pleased with her. She’s lost her place to Dani (Kosińska) who has started the majority of the games.
“But her attitude in training has been superb and she is pushing very hard to try to get a starting spot so we will assess that as well.”
Cuss also spoke about the “dilemma” of whether to name a substitute goalkeeper for every game or go with five outfield players on the bench.
He added: “Dani took a couple of knocks against Swindon and that makes you think that perhaps you should have had a goalkeeper on the bench.
“But the coach’s dilemma is whether you do that or think we might need another attacking option. If you need a goal in the last 15 minutes, you need more attacking options from the bench.
“Every game is different and we will look at it and do what we see fit for the opponents we are facing.”