Wales captain Ingle on Bristol-Frankfurt

"It's a cup game and anything can happen," explained an optimistic Sophie Ingle, who believes Bristol Academy WFC's Welsh spine can aid them against 1. FFC Frankfurt.

Sophie Ingle in action for Bristol
Sophie Ingle in action for Bristol ©The FA via Getty Images

Sophie Ingle is now one of nine Welsh players in the Bristol Academy WFC squad and she believes that international bond will boost manager Dave Edmondson's side as they prepare to take on 1. FFC Frankfurt in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Women's Champions League.

The winter arrivals of Lauren Townsend, Hayley Ladd, Nadia Lawrence and Sharla Passariello increased the contingent from across the river Severn to the west of Bristol. Indeed, Ingle is one of five Bristol players about to jet off with Wales to Croatia for an international tournament ahead of the Frankfurt encounters on 21 and 29 March.

"We've got four tough games in Croatia before we return for the Champions League match against Frankfurt," the 23-year-old told UEFA.com. "So that will be of benefit to myself and the other Welsh girls at the club who are also part of the national squad. There's a big Welsh influence at Bristol now, and the fact we are training and playing together regularly for club and country will benefit both."

Having played every minute of Academy's four UEFA Women's Champions League fixtures so far this campaign – against Raheny United FC and FC Barcelona – Ingle, who can operate at left-back or in defensive midfield, is well aware of the demands of the competition. In addition, her performances have earned her the honour of becoming the new captain of Wales for UEFA Women's EURO 2017 qualifying.

"I think the [round of 16] victory over Barcelona was mainly just down to hard work," said Ingle. "We knew they were a very good team and we knew we would have to defend, but we all worked hard together. We haven't done as well domestically, but we knew that when it came to the Champions League we would really have to put a shift in, and that's what we need to continue to do.

"Looking ahead to Frankfurt, we know it's going to be difficult and that they will have a strong team on paper, but it's all on the day, and if can we put the same graft in again, then who knows? It's a cup game and anything can happen."

One player familiar with both sides is Bristol old girl Jessica Fishlock. Replaced as Wales skipper by Ingle, the midfielder is currently on loan at three-time European champions Frankfurt from Seattle Reign FC, but is keeping her cards close to her chest ahead of the tie. "I tried to ask Jessica where Frankfurt's weaknesses are," said Ingle. "But she wasn't too forthcoming!"

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