We look ahead to the second game of the Spring Series
Oxford United Women head to Brighton for their second game of the Spring Series on Sunday. Despite a strong performance, The Yellows fell short against Everton in their opening league game, and will be looking for a positive result on Sunday.
Brighton & Hove Albion gained promotion from the Premier League South Women last season. The Seagulls first game of the campaign ended in a 1-1 draw with the London Bees, before losing to Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Women’s Cup.
Sunday will be the start of Andy Cook’s reign as the new First Team Manager for United. Cook understands the threat Brighton pose, but is hoping the weekend off for Oxford will play into their hands. “The team have had two full weeks of work since the Everton game and some have had a weekend’s break - so I know they will be ready to play and really take the game to Brighton. It will be a tough game; Brighton are a very strong team and having just been promoted they will obviously want to improve after the FA Cup game against Spurs. The opposition have some very good footballers who are capable of creating many chances.”
Without wanting to give too much away, the manager mentioned;
“We will be looking to exploit a few weaknesses we have found while analysing them. I’m personally looking for intensity in possession and during transitions.”
Managing expectations and helping build the team for the long term are key for the new manager, who looks forward to using the Spring Series as a starting point for success. “We will work each day to improve and every training session we’ll increase our quality and intensity. It’s going to be great for the players over the Spring Series, they will have the freedom to play and learn with me and the staff here. The staff here are excellent; we have all been working hard behind the scenes to make sure the players are ready. The Spring Series is very much game-by-game for the short term, however, the project here at Oxford is long term, so everyone knows this is ideal preparation in our long term plan for the squad.”
The plan, Andy hopes, will be made easier with the talent already available to the team, while also looking to bolster from outside. “During my first couple of weeks involved I’ve seen enough from the women that they have talent and, being a young squad, it has a lot of potential. I will be looking to bring in a few players and improve the intensity and competition in training to help improve week by week leading into the WSL winter league.”
Joining Oxford United was an easy decision for the new boss, who plans to draw from previous experience to help bring the project to life. “At both Arsenal and Durham I learnt so much from some very experienced coaches and managers, such as Laura Harvey, and I’ve been looking for the right chance and opportunity. I’ve been out of the game for a few seasons, but this has given me the chance to develop my knowledge. It’s been good to watch how the league has progressed and how far things have come since my short time at Durham. Once I spoke to Oxford and heard what they could offer, plus the structure of the club and the project they have in place, it was easy to make a decision. Also, Oxford is a beautiful city - who wouldn't want to work here!”
Oxford United Women vs Brighton & Hove Albion Women kicks off at 14:00, on Sunday 26th February.
You can follow the game on Twitter: @OfficialOUWFC and like the Facebook page: @OxfordUnitedWomen for match reports and stories