After bagging a superb first victory of the season in last week’s 3-2 win at promotion-chasing Leicester City, Guiseley Vixens now face a huge match in their bid for league survival, as they prepare to host relegation rivals West Bromwich Albion tomorrow.
Despite sitting seven points below their opponents the Vixens still have three games in hand on Albion who remain just outside the relegation zone, meaning victory could be a crucial moment in Guiseley’s season.
The outing coming at one of the best possible times for Glen Preston’s side, with his side high on confidence and still very much a work in progress
“(the win at Leicester) gives us belief that we can do what we’ve said all season which is beat anyone in this league.” says Preston, “now teams will be looking at how we beat second-placed Huddersfield Town, drew with fourth-placed Stoke, had Derby beat until the last second of the game and now won against one of the most in-form sides in the league away from home.
“So they’ll have that element of doubt and it will be important for us because teams who have complete confidence are a different animal to those who now play against you with uncertainty.”
“We’ve only lost one game in our last six games now so the signs are there that we are improving. We had 4-5 key players absent last week against Leicester including our top goal scorer, so it also shows we have more depth now and that the younger players we have been blooding since the start of the year are perhaps showing signs of progression and adapting to this level, but we are still a long way from where I want us to be.”
Despite the high mood of confidence around Guiseley, West Brom still present a “very tough proposition” for Preston’s side, having shown some strong form in their recent games.
The Vixens were also beaten 3-1 last time the two sides met in November, with the Vixens fully aware of the dangers that their opponents pose.
“West Brom have a good young side which have improved as the season has progressed,” says Preston “they seek to play good football and since the start, they have added players with great experience which makes them another very tough proposition for us.
“When we played them earlier in the season we all thought we were unfortunate to lose, especially when we had them pegged back for the vast majority of the game. From our point of view, we felt we gave them the win with two gift-wrapped goals which really came out of nowhere.
“But at the same time I can take positives with how we played as well as credit West Brom who were very tough that day. Their record at home this season is pretty good, 10 of their 14 points have come from home games, so I personally have lower moments than this game but I didn’t enjoy it that’s for sure.”
However, the Vixens have also seen significant change since both sides last met, most notably in the form of new signing Emily Heckler, whose double against Leicester City showcased how much of a danger she can prove to any side in the division and has proved to be something of a “missing piece” for Preston’s side.
“(Since then) we’ve added a couple of quality players, (West Brom) themselves have eluded to one of our new signings in Emily Heckler in their pre-match build up which in itself is a statement because we now have a player that teams fear. She tore Leicester apart and has scored eight goals in her four games since signing for us and so West Brom have every right to be concerned about her.
“We feel we now have the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle in the final third, we no longer need 15 chances to score one goal per game and with Heckler and Berko we have two of the best strikers in the league, so hopefully they will show that on Sunday.”
The game will take place at Woodhouse Grove School with kick-off being at 2PM.