Oxford United Women take on Crawley Wasps in the quarter-final of the FA Women’s National League Cup this Sunday (2pm).
This is the furthest United have reached in the Cup, so they’ll be looking to build on the momentum they’ve found in the league to take them into the semi-final.
It will also be team Captain Lauren Haynes’ 100th game for United.
“When we played them earlier in the season, it was early on,” she told us. “We didn’t really have our identity in terms of how we wanted to play. We had a lot of new signings who probably hadn’t integrated into the team as much as we had liked, so we’re a completely different team now as we were four or five months ago when we last played them, and that will only be to our benefit.”
“It’s an exciting game. A great opportunity,” Coach Tom Harley told us. “I think we’ve had some brilliant form in the league over the last few months, so we’ll just take that with us into the game. We see this as an opportunity to go there and make a really serious account of ourselves and hopefully progress to the next round,” he added.
“The girls are really strong as a unit and as a collective,” he told us. “I think if we’re playing at home or away in the cup or the league, we have a lot that we can take with us that gives us confidence to be at our best.”
Though now sitting comfortably above them in the league, United lost 1-0 to Crawley on October 3rd and before that 1-3 in September 2019.
Harley told us that he’s confident about the players’ ability to step up to the challenge. “As a squad, we’ve got so many individuals who have such depth in character, who can really step up in big moments and be game changers themselves,” he said.
United will look to Beth Lumsden to make an impact in front of goal. Lumsden has scored in the last five games for a total of 16 goals this season.
The level of competition in the cup is fierce, so United will have to play hard to advance to the next round.
“We know they’ve got threats, they’ve got goal scorers,” Haynes said. “They’ve been in this league long enough now to know the league and know the game. They’ve played against us plenty of times to know our strengths. They’ve got some key individuals in there, but I’d still back every one of our eleven over theirs.”
The game is at Horley Leisure Centre near Gatwick Airport this Sunday, kick-off 2pm. Follow it on twitter @OfficialOUWFC and we’ll have a report, gallery and reaction right here for you after the game