Arsenal Ladies begin their defence of the Continental Cup for the fourth year in a row this evening when they take on Watford at Meadow Park.

It's the first of two important domestic cup games in the space of four days for the Gunners, with an FA Cup quarter-final tie at Birmingham also on the horizon.

Shelley Kerr's side showed big signs of improvement in the second half of their opening WSL clash against Notts County two weeks ago, and were disappointed not to come away with three points after Alex Scott had equalised early on in the second half.

But Kerr insists her side will take encouragement from their display at the County Ground.

We know what to expect against Watford, they will be tough to break down defensively but equally they are very fluent in attack

"We were frustrated not to win that because we could have scored three or four goals in the second half," the manager told Arsenal.com. "But it kind of averaged out because in the first half we didn't play very well at all and Notts County had a couple of big chances to go 2-0 up, then it would have been a massive task for us.

"But you've got to take the positives from the game and the second half was probably the best we've played in our four games this season. It's about trying to continue that momentum into tonight's game and remember how well we've played in that second half."

Goals from former Gunners Ellen White and Kim Little secured a third straight Continental Cup against Lincoln back in October. It was Kerr's second trophy in her maiden season in charge and the Scot says it will remain high on Arsenal's priority list this year.

"We want to do well in all competitions," she said. "The Continental Cup has a different format this season, which makes it really difficult to qualify. We're split into three groups and only top spot is guaranteed to get through and then the best runner-up gets through to the semi-final.

"It is a cup that we're holders of and we're determined to defend it. This is a fantastic club in terms of winning things and it would be great to get off to a positive start.

"We know what to expect against Watford, they will be tough to break down defensively but equally they are very fluent in attack so we will need to keep our discipline and be efficient with and without the ball."

The Gunners won their third Continental Cup last season
The Gunners won their third Continental Cup last season

The Ladies have prepared for the clash with two open training sessions at London Colney for season-ticket holders and Kerr saved special praise for the support they have received.

"It was fantastic to train in front of some of our supporters and give something back to them," she said. "It was great for them to see what we do on the training pitch and how we prepare for games. And, on the other side, training in front of people has inspired us and drove us on this week."

You can follow live updates from Meadow Park by following the @ArsenalLadies account. Kick-off is 7.45pm.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Isaac Moore 1 May 2014