• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Oxford United Women captain Lauren Haynes says club are still ‘underestimated’

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 22, 2022

Lauren Haynes reckons opponents underestimate a key trait that underpins Oxford United Women’s success.

The U’s are three points clear at the top of FA Women’s National League Southern Premier after an excellent start to the season.

United have picked up where they left off after last term’s second-place finish and have lost just four of their last 31 third-tier matches going back to the start of 2021/22.

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It is a record that commands respect, but Haynes feels opposition sides still fail to appreciate the mentality that makes it possible.

“I love it and I hate it,” the long-serving captain said.

“I love it, because I love being underestimated and proving people wrong – in the nicest way possible, sticking two fingers up to people.

“I hate it because I think people underestimate the ability that we’ve got.

“We’ve worked so hard over the last few years to create a culture and really identify what our strengths are.

“Oxford will always be a family club and that’s something we never want to walk away from, but if you look at the style of football we’re playing now compared to two or three years ago, people would die on the pitch for the team.

“I’m not saying we wouldn’t do that before, but it’s a lot more ingrained in the players.

“When people say ‘you play for the badge on the front, not the name on the back’, it couldn’t be more true.”

United are Southern Premier’s highest scorers with 13 goals, while they began the campaign with four clean sheets in an ominous show of intent.

Haynes added: “I remember when people looked at us and thought ‘little old Oxford’.

“Finally, I think people look at the league table and think ‘I don’t fancy playing them’. That’s so good to be able to say.”