Ferns defender CJ Bott returns from injury in time for big English cup tie

New Zealand international CJ Bott says she’s fully recovered from her calf injury and expects to start for her Leicester City side in their English Women’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Birmingham City.

After coming off the bench in a couple of January games, Bott was included in Leicester’s starting line-up against Manchester City on February 5 for the first time since suffering the injury in mid-December.

“I think against Manchester City, it was the wake-up call and the game I needed to get back into the swing of things, and I know I’m ready to go,” Bott says in Leicester’s match programme for the cup tie.

“I think coming back from injury isn’t easy.

“But I think having such a busy period of fixtures, I knew I was fit and ready to go but not having too much time between games has boded quite well for me.”

Bott was left out of the New Zealand squad for the OFC Women’s Olympic Qualifier tournament in Samoa, as one of a number of players managing their returns from injury.

But Bott says she has now returned to full fitness and can continue her club’s cup run with a win against Birmingham City who play in the Barclays Women’s Championship, a division lower than Leicester who compete in the Women’s Super League.

“We just need to perform on the day and we’ll know we will make it,” she says.

“Any team is a great team on the day and they definitely have their strengths and I think we cannot be complacent and we can’t underplay what they’re going to bring and expect a second-tier performance. They’re definitely going to bring us a challenge but we’re for sure ready to embrace that.”

Seventh-placed Leicester are still aiming for a top half league finish and Bott is optimistic for the rest of the season.

“A successful season for me personally would be what’s best for the team. I think if we can finish in that top-six position that would be unbelievable and I think I will know within myself if I’ve done what I can to help the team.

“I think if we can go as far as we can in the cup and if we can get that top-six position then we’ve made history for the club, and I think we’ve just started creating a precedent for what’s to come.”

Fixture

Game to be played on Sunday February 10, 2023 (NZT)

Leicester City v Birmingham City
Pirelli Stadium, Leicester, 1am (NZT)

Read the match programme

Bott is the cover story in Leicester City’s match programme, and it can be downloaded here on desktop or mobile

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