Two of the top three clash in this fascinating return after the Christmas break.
Wrexham return to action in third place in the Adran Genero Premier, facing table-toppers Cardiff City in a fascinating Genero Adran Trophy quarter-final.
THE WREXHAM ANGLE
Steve Dale's side will feel they have a point to prove against The Bluebirds. They inflicted a 3-0 defeat on us in October, making them the only side to keep a clean sheet against us in our last 21 games, and the only team to shut us out in the league this season.
The champions certainly showed their quality in that match, but three months later they will find a side which has benefitted from another three months of improved fitness and conditioning work. The difference in stamina in the last half hour of that match was a crucial factor, but Wrexham are far better equipped to deal with the physical challenge Cardiff present.
The break will hopefully have helped key players to approach a return from injury. Lili Jones (above) missed the Briton Ferry quarter-final, while Erin Lovett and Hannah Keryakoplis have been long term absences who are hoping to return in the opening weeks of the new year.
LAST TIME WE MET
THE VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE
Cardiff have been in spectacular form this season. They've only dropped one point so far, in a surprising off-day in front of goal in the second round of games which allowed Aberystwyth Town to return home with a point from a 0-0 draw.
“Playing Wrexham was a game I’ll never forget. From their previous results early on in the league, they demonstrated their talent and ability to challenge.
-Cardiff wing-back Ffion Price
Striker Eliza Collie will need to be watched as she enjoyed a prolific end to the first part of the season. She scored 8 goals in 3 matches in December, including 4 at Pontardawe after coming on at half time, and a hat trick against Aberystwyth.
"I'm very eager to continue my form from last year," she told her club website, "I just want to keep pushing forward. I don't think there's a limit, I just want to keep improving.
"Last year was a great year for us as a team, but we always have high targets and we want to achieve even more in 2024."
Further fire power comes in the form of Molly Kehoe, who scored twice when Cardiff came to The Rock earlier this season. She told Cardiff City's website that The Bluebirds are keen to get back into action:
"We're really excited for Sunday's game. We want to keep up our positive results that we had in 2023 and keep winning games.
"We've played Wrexham already this season and have beaten them, so they're going to want to come out and beat us this time. I think it'll be a good game, but as long as we keep playing as we have been playing, I think we'll be able to get a result.
"That being said, we shouldn't underestimate them at all, anything can happen in football. They could come with a whole different mindset, we could play badly on the day, but as long as we keep to the standards that we've been playing at, we'll be ok."
Ffion Price scored the third goal at The Rock earlier this season, but was full of praise for Steve Dale's team when ahe spoke to the Cardiff City website:
“They were strong, resilient and showed that against us. With the quality of Molly (Kehoe), she provided us with a two-goal advantage, which allowed us to control and relax in the game.
“Wrexham didn’t give up and demonstrated their fight until the final whistle. As a team, we kept going and luckily for me, the ball fell at my feet in the right area, and I was able to stick it in the back of the net. I’m pretty sure my celebrations will tell you how much that goal meant for me and the team.”
TODAY'S OTHER FIXTURES
Swansea University v The New Saints
Swansea City v Cardiff Met
Felinheli v Aberystwyth Town
Swansea versus Cardiff Met is the only other all-top tier tie in the quarter-finals, but while Swansea University's bid to add to their reputation as giant-killers against TNS might look like the most attractive game of the round, the drama around Felinheli's path to the last 8 is notable.
In the previous round they were drawn at home to Barry Town United, but faced a challenge to get their pitch ready for the match. The referee passed the pitch as fit for play, but Barry refused to accept the decision and last Thursday the FAW decided to expel them from the competition.