Tanya Oxtoby: Bristol City boss says Liverpool WSL game 'won't define season'

Tanya Oxtoby
Tanya Oxtoby's Bristol City have a three-point advantage over Liverpool in the table
Barclays FA Women's Super League: Bristol City v Liverpool
Date: Sunday, 19 January Kick-off: 15:00 GMT Coverage: Follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

Bristol City boss Tanya Oxtoby says Sunday's meeting with bottom side Liverpool will not define their season.

The Women's Super League's bottom two teams meet in Bristol on Sunday, with winless visitors Liverpool three points behind Oxtoby's 11th-placed Robins.

Only one of the WSL's 12 clubs will be relegated to the Championship in May.

"It's a big game, don't get me wrong, but I don't think whoever wins or loses this match is necessarily the one that is going to be relegated," Oxtoby said.

"I don't think it's going to define the season, but I can see why fans will see it that way. It's a big game because it's three points. It's not a big game because it's Liverpool as such."

Australian coach Oxtoby's side picked up their first league win of the season with an impressive 1-0 victory at Manchester United on 5 January, but lost 6-1 at title challengers Chelsea on 12 January.

They have a game in hand on ninth-placed Brighton and are just one point below 10th-placed Birmingham, but the Blues and eighth-placed West Ham have a further game in hand.

City, who finished sixth in the top flight last term, drew 1-1 at Liverpool in October's reverse fixture.

"We had a great performance against Liverpool away from home," Oxtoby told BBC Sport. "They've strengthened in January and we're a little bit decimated with injuries, so it'll be an interesting game.

"We've made no secret that we've only got one recognised midfielder at the minute that's fit and in terms of our January targets, they're not in yet.

"So that's certainly an area we need to be mindful of because Liverpool's midfield is strong. We need to make sure we can nullify that and look to exploit them in the areas that we feel they're not as strong in.

"We've looked better when we've sat behind the ball and looked to counter, but we're at home so we want to make sure we get that balance right because we want to set the tone early as well.

"We're very, very thin on the ground at the moment but the girls do have a lot of effort and heart.

"They want to fight. It's 'backs against the wall' time for us now.

"What that does is either tears a group apart or brings it together. I'd like to think it's bringing ours together. We'll put in a good performance."

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