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'We have to embrace the challenge' - Oxtoby

City Women’s manager Tanya Oxtoby is eager for her team's first 2020/21 Barclay’s FA Women’s Super League fixture against Everton and is excited to put her side’s pre-season practice to work.

Oxtoby claims the task of facing Everton and Chelsea in their first two matches of the new campaign is a tough challenge to face but is something her and her squad have been looking forward too for a long time.

“It's been a long pre-season and a long break, but really looking forward to the first game of the season, it’s going to be a real challenge for us,” said Oxtoby.

“Everton have invested heavily; they have some fantastic players that they’ve brought in so it’s going to be a great challenge for a really young squad, and I look forward to seeing where we’re at and where we need to improve.

“What bigger challenge than Everton and Chelsea in your first two games and we don’t shy away from that. Our focus is on us and what we can control, we are playing against two of the best teams in the league, so we’ll certainly know where we’re at after those two games. It’s really exciting for us. We have to embrace the challenge, there are going to be some tough times this season, no doubt about that whatsoever, but we’re ready for it, we’re up for it as a group and we’re really excited.”

As well as training relentlessly ahead of the new season, the Australian manager has brought in seven new signings to help the squad ahead of the new season. With all the teams in the league bringing in top talent from around the world, Oxtoby is more than happy with her recruitments and can’t wait to see the new signings and the rest of her squad start the season.  

“From our perspective, it’s about trying to get them to gel together as quickly as we can. We know that this is the best league in the world for women’s football, there’s no doubt about that. it’s going to be a massive challenge for us as a group.

“Bringing those six players in has really strengthened us in the areas we really thought we needed to add in so it’s going to be interesting to see how we go. It’s going to be a long season so it’s not necessarily about our first game our two, it’s about making sure we gel those players in and really start to play some of our football.

“All the players are buzzing to be honest; I think it’s got that real vibe to it that it’s been a really long break, and everyone is really excited to kickstart and get this season going. All this training and all this waiting around sort of comes down to this weekend so again we just need to focus on us and our process of what we’re trying to do, and we will evaluate at the end of the 90 minutes and see where we’re at."

The Robins’ campaign gets underway against Everton on September 6th at new home ground Twerton Park, and playing their first competitive game at the new stadium is a prospect that motivates Oxtoby and the rest of the squad.  

“It’s a fantastic occasion. We’ve played a couple of pre-season games there and we’ve been really comfortable. It suits our style of what we’re trying to do in terms of the pitch dimensions so it’s a great facility for us and a good move, and I know the girls are so excited to kick off the season there.”

Written by Lewis Barton

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