Sunday sees Guiseley Vixens with a huge chance to make up strong ground in the fight for survival, as they head back on the road for their outing with rock-bottom Wolverhampton Wanderers.
West Bromwich Albion’s recent loss at Leicester City leaves Guiseley now sitting just five points from safety with four games in hand, giving them, as manager Glen Preston describes “a massive incentive” to grab a victory at Wolves.
The Vixens can also take huge encouragement from the return of their formidable front two of Nikki Berko of Emily Heckler, who have more than enough firepower to make life very difficult for their opponents.
“It’ll be a huge boost (to have them back)” says Preston, “they’ve worked hard and have looked really good in training but more than anything else they’ve added a lot of character to the team, which is what we need, we need big leaders and big characters.
“I think we absolutely missed them in our loss against Leicester City last Sunday, we created enough to walk off that pitch with three or more goals, I watched the game back a few times and on another day if we were more clinical we absolutely could have got something from the game, so it’ll be a huge boost to have them both back on Sunday.”
However, Preston has also expressed that while the outing is very much a winnable one, Wolves’ recent form and his previous experience with them highlights plenty of risks for his side to face.
Despite being bottom of the league, Wolves are unbeaten in their last three outings and also managed to snatch a point from Guiseley with a late equaliser the last time the two sides met earlier in the season, something that Preston says has put his team on “red alert” ahead of the match.
“It’s probably a good thing (that Wolves look dangerous)” says Preston, “because it ensures that we can’t go into this game with any complacency, which I don’t think we would do anyway.
“Looking back at our 2-2 draw with them earlier in the season it was probably for me the most frustrating game of the season because there’s no way we shouldn’t have scored four or five goals in that match.
“I think 80 minutes into the game we’d had 70 percent possession and 20 efforts on goal, whereas they’d had two efforts on goal but the score was 2-2 and I think that almost tells you about how our season’s gone.
“But I do feel that we’re more dangerous now, more organised, the players are much sharper and match fit so I’m confident we can put on a better display and go one better this time.”
Ultimately the Vixens will not have many more winnable games than this one, but the consequences of a victory and the previous experiences of this season also make it another hugely important match in Guiseley’s fight against relegation.
Words: Connor Craig-Jackson
Photo: Ian Stevens