Facing Arsenal in your first League Cup fixture of the season is a daunting prospect for any side, let alone for the newly-formed London City Lionesses.

Since breaking away from their association with Millwall and establishing an independent, professional women’s team based in Dartford, the Lionesses have enjoyed a promising start to life as a new club.

Chris Phillips’ side have recorded three wins from four Championship games so far this term, including a 2-0 triumph at last season’s third-place finishers, Charlton Athletic.

They may be happily sitting in third in the league table but on Sunday many of the Lionesses will be testing themselves against the very best in the business for the first time in their first FA Continental Cup fixture of the season.

The same can’t be said for everyone, though, with the likes of Lionesses striker Evie Clarke coming up against what she would call a familiar foe.

For Clarke, a meeting with the Gunners comes with an added incentive. The former London Bees star was part of the Arsenal setup at junior level, and even made a string of first-team appearances before departing for the Hive.

She was part of the Millwall team who came close to claiming a shock win over Arsenal in the same competition last season – before eventually going down 3-1 to the five-time winners.

This time around, she would love to go one better and explained how her side will tailor their approach against her former club.

“It’s really exciting to be coming up against Arsenal. We’re obviously the underdogs and we’ve got nothing to lose, so it’s a good chance for us to enjoy it and try to prove ourselves against the best there is,” said Clarke.

“I’ll be coming up against players I’ve trained with before, and you just want to play well against your old team and beat them.

“We’re realistic but having led for the majority of the match last season, we know it is doable. We’ve got to make sure we’re hard to beat and try to catch them on the counter, which is what we’ll look to do.

“For a completely new team, I think we’re doing well. It’s taken us a bit of time to get used to upping the training from two days to four days a week, but we’re getting there, and results are showing on the pitch.

“We’re still trying to prove ourselves to everyone and get three points from every game, but with two wins on the bounce – and myself getting two goals – I’m feeling really positive.”

Another member of the London City setup who can count Arsenal as a former employer is manager Phillips.

Having spent over eight years coaching female youth teams at the Gunners, he is well aware of the threats they pose, but insists the fixture poses the ideal learning opportunity for his side.

Phillips said: “Arsenal are one of only two teams to win this competition, and I was actually fortunate to pick up a medal during my time with the club myself.

“We’re realistic and know we’re coming up against one of the best sides in the world, but we’re expecting a good crowd at Princes Park and it’s going to be great for the girls’ development.

“It’s a free hit and will be a good learning experience. They’re a fantastic club and we’re trying to implement the same sort of standards as we strive to get to a similar position as them eventually.”