Villa Park hosts an exciting event on Sunday as Aston Villa Ladies round off their Women’s Super League 2 season by playing their final fixture at the legendary ground.
It’s a demonstration of the improving links between the men’s and women’s games – and the support clubs are now giving their women’s sides.
Unsurprisingly, the Villa Ladies are extremely excited about it.
“For us to be able to play at Villa Park is unbelievable,” says striker, and lifelong Villa fan, Katie Wilkinson.
“For us as a team to be able to play on that turf, that carpet, is a dream for any player.
“But for players that love the club as much as we do, some that have been fans since being very young… it’s a dream.”
Villa have had a solid season in the second-tier, but they will be expecting to round off 2016 with a good result against bottom-of-the-table Watford, who in a year of utter turmoil have currently logged a goal difference of minus 36.
Wilkinson herself, though, will be unable to play – she picked up an ankle injury in training over the summer and has been out of action ever since.
“For me personally, I’m gutted I’m missing the opportunity to play at Villa Park,” she added.
“I’ve been at Villa since I was nine years old and it would be a dream come true to be able to play there.
“On the other hand, I’m absolutely buzzing for my team-mates. There’s a mixture of excitement and nerves at the moment, but [it’s] something I know every player and member of staff will cherish – as will I, supporting them on the sidelines!”
Aston Villa play Watford at Villa Park on Sunday, November 6 (kick-off 2pm), tickets available on the gate.
*Carrie Dunn is SHOOT’s Women’s Football correspondent. Her book ‘The Roar of the Lionesses: Women’s Football in England’ is out now – available in all good bookshops.*