One of the few teams not affiliated to a men’s side can sense momentum building as they prepare for Shaw, Hemp and co

The Women’s FA Cup fourth round brings in the Women’s Super League clubs and among the nine ties that feature top-flight teams, one stands out as different. Manchester City face a trip on Sunday to Durham, a rare team in the game’s upper echelons without any affiliation to a men’s side.

A second-tier club since their formation in 2014, Durham are known for a cult-like fan following and the ability to pull off cup shocks, including against Manchester United and Everton. Since the recent boom in popularity of women’s football, Durham have struggled to keep pace with some Championship rivals who benefit from an association with a men’s team. But they have never faced a relegation battle and continue to punch above their weight, often being competitive against WSL opponents in the FA Cup and Continental Cup.

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