SAINTS FC Women defender Megan Collett admitted that Thursday's Continental Cup meeting with Arsenal is "surreal" but the side is really looking forward to testing themselves.

The two clubs will meet at St Mary's in front of a record crowd for a Southampton FC Women fixture with over 10,000 tickets having already been sold.

The match will offer the hosts a great opportunity to see where they stand against the elite in English football, as they also hope to gain promotion to the Women's Super League at the end of the season.

Collett, who signed her first professional contract at Saints this summer, returned to her former school Redbridge Community School, to host an assembly alongside teammate Milly Mott ahead of the game against the Gunners.

Speaking to the Daily Echo afterwards, she said: "It is really exciting to play against some top players and to play against these players is a test for us to see where we are and to see where we need to be.

"Everyone is just really excited and we can’t wait for the game to come any sooner.

Daily Echo:

"As players you want to play against a top club and to test ourselves against a top opposition. Next Thursday will be a massive game for us - it will be quite surreal.

"We prepare on ourselves, we focus on ourselves but we’re very excited for the game. Hopefully, we can get a lot of people there (to St Mary’s) and break some records."

With the likes of Alessia Russo, Beth Mead and Katie McCabe all potentially featuring in the game for Arsenal, it will give a number of the Saints players a chance to play against some of the biggest names in the women's game.

Collett insisted that Saints would be ready for the test and a positive result could put them in a strong position to qualify from Group D.

Marieanne Spacey-Cale's side are currently top of the group with five points after a penalty shoot-out win against Bristol City and a 1-0 victory over Reading.

The south coast club are chasing promotion to the top flight and the 18 year old claimed that despite a strong start to the season, they need to continue to work hard to achieve their goal.

She added: "It has gone well. We have had a strong start to the season. Our aim is to get promoted this year so we’ve had a few rocky results the last couple of weeks but we are ready to pick it up.

"The girls have come together so well and we have got such a great group. We all want the same thing and we know what we need to do to get there.

"We need to just keep trying hard in training each week and learning and making sure we pick up the points to get promoted."

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The outpouring of support for the club, which is reflected in the club-record ticket sales, will be a historic moment for Saints and Collett suggested how much the game has grown in her experience.

She admitted the reaction of the students at Redbridge Community School was completely different from how it would have been back when she attended.

"Obviously, this is where it all started. This is what got me to where I am today and to inspire the next generation is really important.

"Just seeing how many girls put their hands up then about playing football is completely different to when I was at school.

"There would have only been two or three of us at the time who would have played football.

"So to see 20-odd girls there who play football is amazing and hopefully we can inspire the next generation."