Ahead of this weekend’s FA Plate clash with Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town Ladies, Guiseley AFC’s women’s football writer Oliver Coultas spoke to joint manager Glen Preston about his thoughts on the game and his former club.
Preston managed Huddersfield Town Ladies from 2013, leading them to one of their most successful periods as a club before leaving in 2015.
This will be the first time he has come up against his previous employer.
“It will be quite emotional for me to be honest. I had two to three fantastic years at Town and in that time we achieved wonderful success by winning the league title in my first season. That was special.
“Finishing fifth in the league and reaching two cup finals in our maiden Premier League campaign was just as good and we only really suffered losing streaks when we had a major injury crisis. We became one of the most entertaining sides outside the super league at the time,” Preston said.
“In all honesty it’s obviously going to be a strange to be in the opposite dug out and to see players who once gave their all for me now wanting to give their all against me but that’s football and it all adds to the spice of the occasion and makes for an interesting cup tie,” he continued.
With the history between the two, you could assume he would want to prove a point to his former club but Preston says this is not the case and he just wants the best out of his current squad.
“We have to remain focused and not place any more hype on this game than any other. As much as we will try to do everything we can to win this game, we have to be sensible in our approach. “We all love a good cup run but this competition is the fourth on our priority list and we have to manage the work loads of our players, especially as we don’t have a massive squad,” he said.
“In terms of having anything to prove to Huddersfield I think my record when I was at the club, and at every other club I’ve managed so far speaks, for itself. I’m coming up to 500 games of management and I’ve won over 65 per cent of all my games. I’ve won trophies at every club I’ve been at and left them in much better condition than when I first started, so I have absolutely nothing to prove on a personal level.
“I actually feel all the pressure is on Town for this game as they are a top four Premier League club in my eyes. Teams from the division above destroy teams in this league with relative ease historically, so I feel as though we have nothing to lose especially as we’ve only been a team for four months.
“We are the underdogs going into this game. If we lose it’s not difficult to brush it aside and if we win then we’ve taken a big scalp and we’ll see where the competition takes us,” he concluded.
After the Vixens previous four games in 12 days there have been some casualties along the way. Preston explained, seemingly frustrated: “The injuries are not great to be honest. When you play four games in 12 days it’s utter madness and it’s incredible that the league expects players to be able to recover to play every three days when teams in the men’s game can’t recover within the same time frame and they are full time.
“So we haven’t managed to get through this period unscathed unfortunately. Emily Scott is out for about eight weeks which is massive blow as she’s scored four in her last four games.Katie Welham who hasn’t missed a minute of football and has been as solid as a rock for us this season is also likely to be out. Keegan Lambert, who scored in the last game, is still on the mend as are one or two others, so we are not depleted by any means but we will be under strength to some degree,” said Preston.
This will be the Vixens’ toughest test yet as Huddersfield Town Ladies play a league above and have recently come into a run of form, picking up wins against Nottingham Forrest, Bradford City and Derby County and sit fifth in their league.
Preston added: “It’s great to see Town starting to do well as I was worried for them just a few weeks ago but it’s looking like they might just have turned a corner. Hopefully this will add pressure as it increases their own expectations to win comfortably against us.
“We ourselves though are also in great form and the only game we’ve lost in the last ten was in a game where we fielded a youthful side in the cup away at Hull. To contrast that we beat a full strength Middlesbrough side (who currently sit third in the Women’s Premier League North/South) 4-2 not so long back in a very deserving win and they’re a great side.
“Our recent run saw us beat Liverpool Feds, Hull City and Chorley, who have all beaten Huddersfield in pre-season.”
Preston finished by saying: “I feel as though we have a very good chance of creating an upset here if we play to our best but it won’t be easy because Town are a quality side.”
Guiseley Vixens play Huddersfield Town Ladies in the FA Plate this Sunday at Nethermoor Park. Kick-off is 2pm and entry is £3, £1 Concessions and free to Guiseley season ticket holders.
Words by Oliver Coultas