Walsall Women captain Abi Turner can’t wait to lead the team out at the Poundland Bescot Stadium against Port Vale on Saturday evening after the men's first team game against Salford City.
The defender has been a key player for the team and is a real role model in the squad having captained the side for a number of years.
There is a real buzz in the group ahead of what is set to be a historic day for the team when they play at the Poundland Bescot Stadium for the very first time.
The prospect of Walsall Women playing here has been on the cards for a while and the team are really looking forward to the occasion and delighted that the opportunity has come to fruition.
“We were ecstatic,” said Abi.
“It’s potentially been something that’s been on the cards for a couple of years but been delayed here and there so with it actually happening for us now, with everything being confirmed, we’re absolutely ecstatic.
“The girls are absolutely buzzing about it. It’s something that’s massive for us that we’ve not had the opportunity to do before so for us it’s a massive thing.
“It’s a big step forward for women’s football, particularly in the Walsall community and it’s great that Walsall Football Club are pushing behind this step for women’s football.
“I’m absolutely buzzing to be a part of it. It’s something at my age that I didn’t ever think would be an opportunity for me or for our squad.
“Particularly for young players coming through, it’s something really nice to build and to build a community of women’s football here at Walsall Football Club is going to be amazing.”
It’s been an eventful 2022/23 season so far for the girls, who are currently sitting in mid-table in the West Midlands Regional Women's Football League.
There have been a lot of changes throughout the season and the Saddlers skipper is pleased with how it has gone.
“The season’s been good to be honest,” she stated.
“We had some changes halfway through which were a bit turbulent for the girls but we’ve now got our feet under the table and things are going really well.
“We’ve got a nice steady squad now. With women’s football, people can come in and out so it’s nice to have a steady squad going into this game.”
Abi is proud to be leading the team into what looks like an exciting future and she has thoroughly enjoyed her role as captain.
“It’s been really nice,” she commented.
“I’ve been captain for about six years now. This season in particular has felt a lot more steady, stable and the girls have got a really nice atmosphere, particularly with how big things have been getting for us, it’s been really nice to be part of that growth.”
The Saddlers take on Port Vale this afternoon, a team they are familiar with given they played each other in the cup back in early March.
Abi is expecting a tricky test against a good team but is ready for the challenge.
“I’m really looking forward to facing them here,” she said.
“Port Vale are a really strong side and I know they will come out fighting just the same as we will. We had a recent game against them which we won 3-2 so I’m sure there will be some nice fighting talk prior to the game but it’s going to be a really good game and they’ll come out fighting too.”
It’s set to be a momentous day for everyone involved with Walsall Women.
Abi sees the game as a real opportunity for the team but she is also keen to inspire a generation and sees it as another positive step forward for the women’s game.
“It’s a massive platform,” she stated.
“Not just for squad and I but for every female Saddlers fan that is sitting in the stands just to know that there is growth within women’s football and there are opportunities that we’re going to have so it’s massive, not just for us but for everyone really.”