Derby County Football Club Women

Griffiths to back her players in a long-awaited cup tie.

Article written by University of Derby Football Journalism Student Elliot Yates

Derby County Women prepare for their first game since December, after the FA Women’s National League was curtailed for the second season in a row. They come up against Loughborough Foxes in the Women’s FA Cup on Sunday, having to win this game to keep playing this season.

Manager Sam Griffiths has said she is excited for the game on Sunday, given how long it’s been since Derby Women played, “I’m excited. Really excited. I can’t wait to get out there, really.”

On opponents Loughborough, the manager noted she is confident they can beat the side, but at the same time knows anything could happen. “On paper, we’re expected to beat Loughborough. Will we underestimate them? No. We played them first game of the season and ended up dropping points and drawing 3-3 with them.”

Griffiths has been honest in the difficulty of getting the team prepared, claiming that the players won’t be match fit or match sharp going into their cup tie due to not playing for nearly four months.

However, the Derby Women’s manager claims that she would ‘like to back her players technically.’ She hoped to not make fitness an issue for Sunday’s game by focusing tactically against the opposition, “Can we tire Loughborough? Can we get them to chase? If you work smart, you’re good enough to let the ball do the work. We’re hoping to have a lot more in possession; we’ve got an idea as to how we want to play.”

Defender Sarah Jackson is also looking forward to Sunday’s encounter at Loughborough University Stadium. She says that all the training has been motivating for this game coming up and for the team, “you’re doing it for your teammates and knowing that coming back, if you’re the one that’s not fit, you’re letting them down.”

Derby were fourth in the league this season after another strong campaign in a bid to be a Championship side in the future. They now have an extra incentive and motivation in the cup, knowing if they keep winning, they keep getting to play football this season.