Fresh from two strong victories and with their hopes of survival well and truly alive, Guiseley Vixens now look to do what would have seemed an unlikely double over Premier League North title challengers Leicester City.
The Vixens ran out 3-2 winners over Leicester last time the sides met two weeks ago with the Vixens following it up with an impressive and vital 3-2 victory over relegation rivals West Bromwich Albion to put themselves well within reach of safety.
Despite Leicester bouncing back from their defeat against Guiseley with a 2-1 win at title rivals Blackburn Rovers, Vixens manager Glen Preston is still confident that his side can once again defy the odds.
“Last week was probably the best I have seen us play all season as well as the most confident,” said Preston, “I think our football flowed more, we were very strong in and out of possession, we controlled nearly all aspects of the game for 90 minutes and as such we could have easily walked away with five or six goals possibly more whilst giving away very little away at the other end.
“We have a little bit of momentum now having only lost one in our last seven games so hopefully our performances can continue to improve and we can give ourselves the best chance of picking up three or four more wins this season.”
With the victory against Leicester coming as a shock to many, Preston’s claims that his side’s performance in the match was still far from perfect, insisting that since then his side have displayed even more improvements that were evident in the West Brom encounter.
“Against Leicester last time around we were happy to have the game play out in our half and for us to be patient in waiting to create match-winning moments and we did that to an excellent standard along with defending with great resilience and focus.
“But we weren’t as good in possession as I would have liked, in fact, we were way below what we expect on the ball. But the two games (Leicester and West Brom) played out in two very different ways and we showed our flexibility and our adaptability which we will hopefully show again on Sunday.”
Despite the confident mood around the Vixens camp, however, Preston knows that seeing off his high flying visitors will be no easy task, with their loss against the Vixens last time out acting as a larger incentive to make life difficult for his side.
But as ever, the margins are often very fine, with Preston feeling that his side’s mentality could be another crucial difference in the encounter.
“I’m expecting a tough, tough game!” said Preston. “We are going to be playing a side with some of the most powerful motives in football in that they will be hurting from losing to us a few weeks ago and they will be seeking revenge as well as needing to win to keep their title hopes alive.
“Belief is there for us now which makes us a dangerous proposition, but we can’t be naïve going into this game assuming it will be the same as last time or that that both sides won’t have different game plans.
“It’s tough for us because Leicester have qualitative superiority over us which makes them red hot favourites, but it still comes with the added pressure that they are expected to win and should win. Saying that, it’s amazing what fear and nerves can do to a side so if we make them a little nervous, cast doubt, frustrate and take them out of their mental game then we can one hundred percent win this game like last time.”
As ever, it is no secret that the Vixens still have plenty of absentees and injury concerns throughout the squad leaving some key players on the sidelines, however, the wealth of options that the Vixens currently have at their disposal has given Preston a lot of faith that the players available are fully capable of getting a result.
“I’d love to get a more settled team but that’s the kind of season its been,” said Preston “against Leicester last time around we had a fair few players absent as we did against West Brom. I guess the pleasing thing from our perspective is that we still came away with six points and it shows the depth we now have along with the talent.
“As for Sunday we are in a similar position again where we are going to be without three or four players but I’m confident we can still get a result with whoever we select.”
The outing takes place at Nethermoor Park, kicking off at 2PM with programmes on sale for £1 each.
Words: Connor Craig-Jackson