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Emily Batty targets cup and league double

20 November 2019

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Goalkeeper Emily Batty admits she's learning all the time after making her first two appearances for Sheffield United Women in the team's last two Continental Cup ties against Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers.

Batty has played back up to Becky Flaherty in the FA Women's Championship but was handed her debut against Villa last month before making her home debut against Rovers 24 hours after her 21st birthday at the start of November.

Ahead of Thursday's critical Group A clash with group leaders Durham, Batty is now settling into life at the club.

"I was really nervous before the [Villa] game but the girls really eased me into it. They were really supportive and the coaching staff were as well. It was just really good to get out there on the pitch."

United fell to a 3-1 defeat but Batty made several big saves during the match and was in goal again when Blackburn came to Sheffield earlier this month with the Blades looking to bounce back from defeat.

Batty was assured throughout and was unlucky not to keep a clean sheet after getting finger tips to a late Blackburn penalty, but she made a good save minutes later to ensure they score remained 4-1 to the Blades.

"I was millimetres away!" she said of the Blackburn penalty. "It's so nice because I feel like I've learned so much in the few months that I've been here and to be given the minutes to play, I'm grateful for it because it shows Carla has trust in me, she has faith in putting me in the goal."

Batty's adaptation to life at Sheffield United has been helped by her former Doncaster Rovers Belles goalkeeping coach, Tom Pressman, also making the move from Doncaster to Sheffield in the summer, the two working together last season before linking up again at Shirecliffe in pre-season.

"He's a very good coach. He works on the little details you wouldn't think would be necessary, the little adjustments you don't realise are so important until you get out on the pitch and it's crazy how much I've learned from him in such a short space of time."

Batty though has had a new goalkeeper to work with in Flaherty. The Northern Ireland international also joined the club this summer from FA Women's Super League side Everton, but the two have wasted no time in striking up a good working relationship.

"We just get on. We have the same sense of humour, we're always laughing and I think it probably annoys Tom half the time! But it makes sessions more enjoyable and we really encourage each other so it's been really good."

Batty started her career in the Lincoln City Centre of Excellence before joining Belles as a 16-year-old. She was part of the squad alongside fellow Blades Sam Tierney, Leandra Little, Sophie Barker and Jade Pennock that won the last FA WSL 2 title in 2018.

Batty remained with the club after demotion to the FA Women's National League and played regularly last season, becoming the club's number one before making the step back up to the second tier with the Blades.

With a double-header against Durham coming up with Thursday's clash preceding Sunday's league encounter as the Blades prepare to make their bow at Chesterfield's Proact Stadium, Batty is targeting nothing less than maximum points from both games.

"I don't think I've ever played the same team within the space of a few days but we're looking at this and hoping for six points between the two games, anything less and we'll be disappointed. I think we've got the squad and the capabilities to achieve that."

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