Claudia Walker says Everton are looking forward to the prospect of facing Merseyside foes Liverpool in the SSE Women’s FA Cup fifth round.
The draw was made a month ago and gives the Blue Girls the chance to pit their wits against their local rivals, who compete in the Women’s Super League 1.
The Reds won their previous meeting 1-0 in the Continental Cup last season, but Walker is confident in her side’s chances.
“Everyone is excited, and we know how competitive those games are and anything can happen,” she admitted.
“Every time we play them we seem to put in a very good performance so hopefully we can do that again and get the result.
“Last year we only lost 1-0, and to be honest the game could’ve gone either way, so I think that’s a good confidence-booster for us if we are performing against these big teams.
Although it is a derby, the game will do well to surpass the drama the Blue Girls created in the previous round of the competition.
Full-back Dan Turner had to go in goal due to an injury to Kirstie Levell, before they overturned a two-goal deficit to beat Durham Women 4-3 on penalties.
Round three was a lot more comfortable for Andy Spence’s side though, as they coasted to an 8-1 win away at Brighouse Town, with Walker starting her season with a hat-trick.
Having finished the 2016 campaign as the club’s top scorer with nine, she was delighted to get 2017 underway in prolific fashion.
“As a forward you always want goals and that just gives you confidence in your game,” she said.
“I feel like if you get one or two goals then they keep coming, and that’s one thing that I wanted to start the season off with.
“Hopefully I can continue that and keep adding to my game, and hopefully get more than last season.”
The Blue Girls head into Sunday’s derby in fine form, with two wins from two in the Spring Series and their FA Cup successes behind them.
They secured a 2-1 victory at Sheffield FC last weekend where Walker again found the net, although it was a late own goal from Ellie Gilliet that earned them the points.
The striker believes that the mood in the squad is perfect ahead of the tie against Liverpool.
“We’ve taken a lot of confidence from the games, and obviously we want to try and win every game,” she stated.
“Everyone’s motivated to make sure we are winning and sticking to winning ways, especially in the cup.
“It’s a big competition for us and we want to get as far as we can in it, and having Liverpool it’s a little Merseyside derby and I think that’s exciting for everyone on both sides.”
Everton last won the cup in 2010 with a 3-2 win over Arsenal after extra-time, with Natasha Dowie firing a 119th minute winner, who since crossed the divide and signed for Liverpool.
The Blue Girls have been runners-up on three occasions, most recently in 2014, with Arsenal avenging the 2010 defeat with a 2-0 victory.
Walker says that Andy Spence is pushing them on all fronts this season, and is keen to succeed in the cup given the club’s past success.
“Each game we have, he just wants us to leave everything on the pitch,” she said.
“He makes sure we give our all, especially in the cup because it’s a competition that Everton have been successful in.
“Everyone wants to win an FA Cup and he wants us to go as far as we can.
“[He wants us] to keep striving to be playing the best that we can as a team, and to get the most out of this mini-league, and to perform and compete to win promotion in the league.”
Given their impressive start, it would be no shock if Everton upset the odds at the Select Security Stadium on Sunday.