***UPDATE | Due to a bad pitch, the game has been postponed***
Guiseley Vixens start their new year with a trip to fifth place Blackpool Wren Rovers.
The Vixens will want to show what they are made of after narrowly losing their Women’s FA Cup to Nottingham Forrest who play in the Women’s Premier League.
Blackpool are on an unbeaten run and will be looking to extend this at the weekend, however Guiseley are yet to be beaten in the league this season so it will be a tough test.
The player to watch out for is Blackpool’s Nikki Berko who is currently the league’s top goal scorer with 13 goals.
Guiseley could give a debut to new signings Hannah Poulter and Josie Hewson after they joined the club over the festive period.
Manager Glen Preston said: “The players are raring to go. We’ve had an amazing first half to the season and the players were given a winter break due to how intense the first half was. I feel the players have come back refreshed, hungry and desperate to try and continue what we’ve started.”
Guiseley haven’t played Blackpool this season but after coming into a run of form and having the league top scorer, they will be one to watch out for as Preston pointed out saying: “We don’t know a great deal about them. I’ve only managed against Blackpool once last year in the Cup when at Huddersfield and despite beating them 11-1 on the day it was a good game as they have some really good players and have good people at the club.
“It also looks as though they’ve kicked on this year. They look stronger in the league as shown by their results against the likes of Hull and Chorley, which have all been extremely close fought games, so they will be a very tough opponent for us there’s no doubt about that and we as always will need to be at our best.”
The Vixens head into the game having won all six of their away games this season and will want to add to this record with second place Chorley and Hull chasing not far behind.
Preston said: “It was great to be top of the league for Christmas and even better to remain unbeaten in the league but no-one lifts trophies in January. Hull are hot on our heels and won’t give in the fight.
“We went to watch Liverpool v Chorley and both of those sides are class acts and they will still believe they can lift the title, so for me it’s still a four horse race and whilst it’s a nice position to be in and exactly where we deserve to be, we have to stay humble and fight for every point and keep the chasing pack down as best we can.”
Captain Alarna Fuller added: “We always approach each game with the same mentality and understand that no game is going to be easy in this league, they have the highest goal scorer in the league so we all know they are going be a threat.
“Everyone is feeling good after the break and we we’re all eager to come back and finish the second half of the season how we started it. Its given us time to shake off knocks which we picked up and leaves us in a position where we can crack on and push for the title.”
Words by Oliver Coultas
Photo: Alex Daniel