Abi Cottam has enjoyed a fine start to life at Durham but that hasn’t stopped the forward dreaming of more after she collected the SSE Women’s FA Cup player of the round.
The 26-year-old bagged two fine goals and two assists to help the Wildcats down Leicester 5-2 and progress to the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time in the club’s history.
Cottam was delighted to scoop up the prestigious award but wants to focus on helping her side dump FA Women’s Super League 1 outfit Everton out of the competition in the last eight.
She said: “It’s a massive achievement and a great honour to have won player of the round. “For us to get through to this stage is really special. You cannot take away anything from the FA Cup, it will always be one of those things that is special for any footballer.
“It’s the furthest we’ve been and that’s huge for us and it’s a testament to how hard the people are working behind the scenes. To get the club to this stage is fantastic and we’ll certainly give it our best on the day.
“Everton is a huge game for us. It’s not something we should fear, it’s something we should be very excited about and as long as we prepare properly there’s no reason why we cannot get the result we want from it.
“I think we need to focus on us, I think if we worry too much about what they’re going to do then it will be detrimental us. I think we need to focus on being defensively strong and taking our chances when we get them and that’s all we can do.”
Cottam’s sensational volley set the tone for a fine display against Leicester at New Ferens Park, adding a second before setting up striking partner Zoe Ness twice in the comfortable fifth round victory.
The forward admits she’s thoroughly enjoyed her time alongside Ness since joining the club from West Bromwich Albion last summer and believes the Scottish striker has helped her settle into the club.
Cottam said: “Playing alongside Zoe has been a really good experience for me, she’s a great player and has been brilliant all season.
“Her hold up play is unbelievable, I’m more of a runner than the hold-up player but learning that side has been really important and getting that understanding about how to play off of her is great for me.
“This is my first season here so I’m getting used to the way things work. I has been a step-up but I’ve settled in straight away and it’s about getting minutes on the pitch. It’s been easy enough with the girls around us. They’re massively helpful.”
Tickets are now on sale for the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final on Saturday 5th May at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. For more information about tickets and SSE’s involvement in women’s football visit www.sponsorship.sse.com.
By Charlie Peat, Sportsbeat