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Oxford United Ladies relishing Everton tie
SAHARA Osborne-Ricketts is happy to play through the pain barrier this weekend to lead out Oxford United Ladies in their clash with Everton.
The defender has not played since picking up an ankle injury when the U’s beat Newcastle United last month to set up the FA Women’s Cup last 16 tie on Sunday (4).
Skipper Osborne-Ricketts only returned to training on Wednesday, but will not let a minor problem get in the way of playing in the team’s biggest ever game.
She said: “I’m still not 100 per cent but a broken leg is the only thing that would keep me out of this game.
“It’s been in the back of everyone’s minds since the draw and we’re so excited to be playing against such a good team.”
Everton finished third in last season’s Women’s Super League and could field three players – Rachel Brown, Jill Scott and Toni Duggan – who featured in England’s Cyprus Cup victory this week.
U’s manager Richard Blackmore knows it will be tough, but is looking forward to the challenge.
He said: “We’re going to be realistic about it because we’re facing one of the best sides in the country.
“Everton have some experienced internationals in their side, but it will be good for some of the younger girls who haven’t come up that level before.
“On the day if they’re better and fitter than us then so be it, all we’re looking for is a good performance.”
The previous round saw the team make their Kassam Stadium debut in front of more than 700 spectators.
It will again host the ladies on Sunday and it is hoped the gate could reach four figures.
Joe Nicholls, a U’s fan who has organised Ultimate Support Saturday for the men’s team for the past two seasons, has been keen to help out.
He said: “We want to help get a big crowd, and create a noisy and colourful atmosphere.
“It’s about enjoying the day, and helping get new fans interested in women's football.”
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