'It's not going to be easy' - Leeds United Women hope to defy expectation in tough cup final against West Yorkshire rivals
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The Whites have scored 20 goals and conceded just one on their route to the final, seeing off lower-tier opponents Bradford Park Avenue and Harrogate Town before overcoming Division One North rivals Bradford City in the semi-final in February.
On Thursday, though, United face a tougher opponent in the shape of third-tier Brighouse Town, who compete a step above Leeds in the Northern Premier Division and are fighting to defend the cup as current holders.
The teams know each other well as they competed in the Division One North for many years before Town earned promotion through application for upward movement in 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic prevented clubs completing the competition on the pitch.
Brighouse have enjoyed a profitable first season in the tier above, and currently sit midtable having won nine of their eighteen league games so far.
Leeds will need to be at their best to come out on top against stern competition, Wood says.
"It'll be a tough one," Wood said.
"We know a lot about Brighouse, we know where they've come from and who they are.
"It's not going to be easy - they're the favourites, so we have to go and put a great performance in and hopefully we can get the result we're looking for."
It's been six years since Leeds lost the County Cup final to Bradford City for the second successive season, and the Whites haven't succeeded in reaching a final since.
Wood is delighted that the Whites are once again in contention for silverware.
"It'd be great for the club, it's something that we've looked for as a coaching team to get them into a final, we've got them there," he said.
"All I can say is it's over to the players and I know we were below par today but I'm sure they'll turn up on Thursday and put on a good performance."
In their last outing, United fell to a 2-0 home league defeat to Norton and Stockton Ancients after beating them 2-1 away the previous weekend.
The game has given the Whites' management team food for though ahead of Thursday's vital match.
"It probably makes it easier because you're looking at personnel that give a better performance out there today and then obviously you're probably picking a stronger side on the day from today's performance, really," Wood said.
"You have to lift them - it's gone we take whatever positives we can out of it, pick the bones out of it, as it were, take it into Thursday and hopefully use that to get a result on Thursday."
Leeds United Women take on Brighouse Town in the County Cup final on Thursday April 7, with kick-off set for 7.30pm. The match will take place at West Riding County Football Association, Fleet Lane, Woodlesford, Leeds, LS26 8NX. Tickets cost £4 for adults and £2 for concessions.