Ipswich Town Women players excited for 'special' Portman Road experience

Ipswich Town Women's players will make history at Portman Road on Saturday, as ITV News Anglia's Sport Correspondent Donovan Blake reports.

Ipswich Town's women players say it will be "special" to play at Portman Road for the first time.

The Tractor Girls host Chatham Town on Saturday afternoon, with the match taking place at the club's stadium as part of Women's Football Weekend.

It is Ipswich Town Women's first match at Portman Road in their history and an experience player Sophie Heskett has been dreaming of since she was a teenager.

Heskett said: “Being here, this is my fifth season now, I think I did always hoped that it would happen, and I think it’s come at a really good time.

"I’m kind of glad that we’ve had to wait for it because it feels a bit more special.”

Ipswich Town Women players Maisy Barker and Sophie Heskett. Credit: ITV Anglia

The fixture is expected to attract a high attendance, with fans across the country being encouraged to support their local women's football side.

Clubs in the top two divisions of the elite women's game will stage matches at their main stadiums and clubs like Ipswich are following suit in the lower divisions.

Fellow Town player Maisy Barker said: “We’re just really excited to show the fans, the community, the coaches, the men, everyone, the kind of football that we play because we’ve worked really hard to sort of get to where we need to get.

"And I think yes, hopefully on the carpet, we can prove and show everybody what football we play and how good a team we are.”

Meanwhile, Norwich City Women are also playing at the club's stadium - though it will not be their first match at Carrow Road.

The Canaries played there for the first time last April and are looking to inspire young girls once more on Sunday against Queens Park Rangers.

Norwich City Women player Alice Parker speaking to primary school pupils in Norfolk. Credit: ITV Anglia

Defender Alice Parker visited her old primary school near Wymondham, Norfolk, on Thursday, explaining her journey through the women's game to pupils.

"It’s lovely," she said. "I think it’s really nice that [the pupils] obviously show an interest.

"Some of them are coming to the game on Sunday as well so it’s really lovely.

“We’d obviously played at a couple of stadiums before, we’d played at The Abbey and QPR’s stadium, Loftus Road, but it’s a different feeling at Carrow Road because you had everyone - seven and a half thousand people cheering you on.

"I think you can’t really replicate that anywhere else and it was amazing.”

Ipswich Town host Chatham Town at 3pm on Saturday, while Norwich City's game against QPR kicks off at 2pm on Sunday.

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