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Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Thursday, 30 April 2009 16:08 UK

Yankey wants to win Cup for Akers

By Tony Leighton

Rachel Yankey
Yankey has scored nine goals so far this season

Arsenal winger Rachel Yankey says the Gunners head into Monday's FA Women's Cup final against Sunderland determined to win it for manager Vic Akers.

Akers, who founded the women's team 22 years ago, is to step down from his post at the end of the season.

"We want to win it for Vic," said England international Yankey.

The 62 year-old Akers will be hoping to see his team lift the FA Cup for the fourth season in succession and the 10th time in all.

Yankey, who collected her first winner's medal in 1998, said: "Vic's been a fantastic manager and the players are really going to miss him.

"We've won the Cup loads of times, but if we do it again on Monday it will be the best ever because we'll dedicate it to Vic."

Yankey is one of only five players left at the club who were in the starting line-up for last season's final, in which they beat Leeds Carnegie 4-1.

Despite losing top stars such as Kelly Smith, Karen Carney and Julie Fleeting, the Gunners will be hot favourites to beat opponents from the Northern Division.

"We don't know too much about Sunderland," said Yankey, "but they've beaten two teams from the top league to get to the final so they're obviously a decent side.

Our confidence is really high and we believe we can beat Arsenal

Sunderland's Sophie Williams

"We've lost some big names and the final will be unfamiliar territory for some of our players, but we'll be out to show we're still good enough to win the big trophies."

Arsenal have made a habit of winning big trophies, but not so Sunderland - this will be the first major final in the club's 20 year history.

The Black Cats are having a fine season, however, and are in line to gain promotion to the top flight as well as having the chance to produce a major FA Cup shock.

They have already beaten Bristol Academy in the quarter-final and pulled off a sensational 3-1 win against Chelsea in the semi-final at the Stadium of Light.

Now they are heading for the final at Derby County's Pride Park, where a crowd approaching 30,000 is expected.

But a young team will not be fazed by the occasion, insists 18 year-old striker Sophie Williams whose 32 goals this season included two against Chelsea.

Williams said: "I was only 15 the last time I played against Arsenal and I was gob-smacked to be playing against the likes of Kelly Smith.

"But I won't be in awe of them this time, especially after beating Chelsea in the semi-final - our confidence is really high and we believe we can beat Arsenal as well."



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see also
Everton pile pressure on Arsenal
12 Apr 09 |  Women
Everton keep pressure on Arsenal
05 Apr 09 |  Women
Leaders Arsenal win at Birmingham
02 Apr 09 |  Women
Everton end Arsenal unbeaten run
29 Mar 09 |  Women
Sunderland reach FA Women's final
22 Mar 09 |  Women


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