Hearts head coach Andy Enwood admits his players will have to be at their very best to stand any chance of toppling city rivals and current SSE Scottish Cup holders Hibs Ladies.
The SWPL 2 league title hopefuls welcome their neighbours to Oriam tomorrow (kick-off 3.30pm), aiming to produce the shock of the fourth round and eliminate a side who have held the trophy since 2016.
The Jambos destroyed Raith Rovers 24-0 in the previous round but Enwood acknowledges they’ll have to match the performance of this season’s SWPL Cup 1-0 defeat to Hibs and more if they are to upset the odds.
“We played them right at the start of the season and they were a good side then but they’ve got better,” he explained. “Hibs are in good form. They’ve just qualified for the knock-out stages of the Champions League which is some achievement in itself. They’re the current holders too and have shown over the last few seasons how good they are in cup competitions. We’re not going to have as many chances against Hibs as we did against Raith Rovers in the last round. We’ll have to work a lot harder just to create chances and that’s no disrespect to Raith.
“We have to put a plan in place. We’ve spoken a lot about their individual qualities but like with every side, there are chinks in the armour so we’re going to do our best to exploit them.
We’re at home but I don’t think it’s going to give us any sort of advantage as we’re still getting used to it too having moved this season. It won’t be for another couple of years that the place becomes familiar.
“We’re going to have to be at our best and we’re probably going to have a bit of luck fall our way. If we work hard and stick to the plan, and the girls are competitive, then I’ll be happy.”
Meanwhile, Hibs Ladies Rachael Boyle has given head coach Grant Scott food for thought ahead of the clash with Hearts.
The 27-year-old was instrumental in helping the Hibees through to this weekend’s fourth-round clash at Oriam, providing four assists in Wednesday night’s 5-0 slaying of Stirling University at Penicuik Park.
Boyle was restored to the starting line-up having missed last weekend’s SWPL 1 win over the students, Scott affording the midfielder some time off to spend with her family following their recent Champions League exertions in Slovenia.
Now Scott is spoilt for choice as to who he sends out as the current holders seek a place in the last eight.
“I think the last full season I played I managed about one assist so it was definitely something I’ve been looking to add to my game so I was delighted with my performance (four assists) on Wednesday,” said Boyle. “We knew going into the game that if we did the job then we’d be going into an Edinburgh derby so we’re really looking forward to tomorrow.
“I didn’t play against Stirling last weekend having been given the time off but I’m ready to play again.”