MOLLY BARTRIP feels it could be third time lucky as Reading Women look to put two previous defeats against Arsenal behind them on Saturday.
Royals take to the field for the first time in six weeks after a mid-season break for a Continental Cup match having already lost twice to the Gunners this season.
But Bartrip feels Reading are better equipped this time to get the better of their London counterparts, who have already played two games in the past week.
“Hopefully for us they’re a bit tired,” Bartrip told The Wokingham Paper.
“But they’ve got such a big and experienced squad that we can’t really think about that and we can only think about ourselves and how we’re going to play.
“We all know that Arsenal are going to come out and play football and try and pop it round us but we have to try and go and take our chances that we get in the game.
“There will probably be not many but this is where we’ve been developing in training and making sure we get those finishes in.”
Although listed as a home match, the game will take place at The Hive at 5pm as part of a double header with London Bees facing Chelsea at 2pm.
The first of two meetings between the sides ended with a 3-1 win for the Gunners in March
before a late Emma Follis strike gave Reading hope in the reverse fixture a month later, only for Arsenal to triumph 2-1.
But Bartrip says this cup clash is anything but a lost cause and hinted that the Royals could try and spring a tactical surprise on the FA Cup holders.
“Playing Arsenal is not the easiest draw,” admitted the defender.
“But it’s a draw that I think we can go out and kind of shock them in a way because they have an idea of how we play but we’re going to try and bring something different to the game on Saturday.
“Obviously there’s a game on before us so hopefully we can get a few attending the game to cheer us on which will be quite nice.”
Bartrip spent part of her mid-season break by going away on holiday with some of her team-mates while many of the squad also live together.
And the 20-year-old feels having a tight-knit squad has been key to the recent success.
“I live with Becks (Becky Jane), Brutes (Lauren Bruton) and Titch (Laura-May Walkley),” she explained.
“And in the other house I think there is six of them as well so it’s quite nice that we can live with our team-mates.
“I have my best friends with me so I can’t really complain.
“When we came back from holiday the team has just gelled so well.
“Even from the beginning of the season we’re closer now than we were.”
She continued: “The Welsh girls have been winding us up a little bit about the Euros but we take it into training sometimes for a little bit of fun and laughter.
“But we know that in all seriousness we can’t be thinking about the men and we have to think about what we’re about to do in the season.
“But yeah, they do banter us a little bit and it’s a bit disappointing but we’ll take it on the chin and move on.”
After the loan departures of Grace Moloney (Aston Villa) and Charlie Estcourt (Bristol City) and sale of Bonnie Horwood (Millwall), Reading took the opportunity to strengthen their squad on deadline day with the addition of Remi Allen.
The 25-year-old midfielder joined from Birmingham City Ladies and has plenty of WSL 1 experience and Bartrip feels her arrival can only be good for the side.
“I know of Remi because some of the players that I played with at England were at Birmingham,” she said.
“But she’s gelled in with the team already, she’s had a few sessions and it looks like she feels at home.
“She’s living in the other house which is quite nice for her because obviously she spends a lot more time with girls.
“With the team we’ve got any player can come in and they’ll be safe and they’d feel at home because of the kind of girls we’ve got in the team.
“I really think she could be a good presence in the team and give us something different that we haven’t got.”
Tickets are available for the double header at The Hive tomorrow, priced at just £4 for adults for both games, £2 for concessions and £1 for children.