Saturday 6 January 2018

Preview | Oxford United Women vs Durham Women

Oxford United Women kick off their 2018 with a match against Durham Women at Court Place Farm.

The Yellows opponents take the long journey down to Oxford off the back of an impressive start to the season in 2017. Sitting second with three wins, one draw and one loss, The Wildcats will look to take the game to Oxford.

Of course, the home side had a positive end to 2017 themselves.

Midfielder Kayleigh Hines is raring to go in 2018; “I think there is bigger incentive for the staff and players beyond a decent table finish, to make sure the next 6 months is memorable for all the right reasons. We set our own standards at the beginning of the season and if we’re being really honest, the way we finished before the Christmas break was below expectation for all of our own standards. So we come back after a couple of weeks break with a fire in our bellies, and it’s a great opportunity to kick on this Sunday at home.”

Kayleigh is currently top scorer for Oxford, with three goals. The team has an even spread of scorers with Chloe Chivers and Hannah Short just behind on two. “I’m always happy to score and contribute but the bigger picture is results. Of course we have a competitive squad and our forward players have been working hard in training, and I have no doubt their hard work will pay off in games with important goals in the second half of this campaign. I will always be happy to chip with goals and assists, of course!”

Manager Andy Cook feels that in 2018 it’s important for the team to get back to playing how they were at the start of the season, particularly now that the Continental Cup is out of the way. “We started brilliant and couldn't have asked for anything more, then the Continental Cup started and we lost our way bit and got caught up in playing games that we didn't need to. For example, going to Everton on a Thursday night, when both teams had a free weekend, and we are part-time having to take days leave to travel and play, then getting back at 2am and up for work at 7am. All these things take a toll on the team and group, and when we are playing in these games it’s a no go for us. Man City can travel down to the Midlands, stay over the day before they play us, have a light session day of the game and less than an hour’s travel before the game. We have to get to Liverpool for 6pm with players all having put in a morning shift at university or work then play and come back. Thankfully that’s gone now and we can focus on the league and the FA Cup - it would be great to get a run in that competition.

We are confident in the ability of the group and what we will do in 2018. We just have to go and show it and take points from games. We need to be smart in the games and do what is needed to get points.”

Being from up North and having already taken his team to play Durham during the Spring Series, Andy knows the journey well. “It’s not that bad of a journey, they will come on Saturday and stay over. As a coach and player I enjoy trips like that, it’s always good for a team to do that and stay over as much as they can. I make that same trip twice a week anyway, it’s not a problem. I’m expecting a very tough game, they are strong. I have been analysing their squad and they have the ability to play two different 11s and both of them could do well in this league. They have a lot of options to choose from. I will be looking forward to it as I get see some friends and that’s always a good bit of pressure - to see who gets the bragging rights. [Development Team Head Coach] Steph Libbey and I go way back to our time at Middlesbrough and it will be the first time we've worked against each other. I know she won't give us an inch, that’s why it will be tough.”

Oxford United Women face Durham Women on Sunday 7th January, with a 12:00 kick off.

You can buy tickets to the game here:

You can also follow the minute-by-minute live on Twitter: @officialOUWFC