Sutcliffe believes promotion is in Derby’s hands

By Ella Smetana

University of Derby 1sts Manager Liam Sutcliffe said ‘if our players are at their maximum there is nothing we can’t solve’ ahead of their game against University of Oxford 1sts on Wednesday.

On Wednesday 28 February, Derby 1sts welcome University of Oxford 1sts to Kedleston Road, with hope to seal promotion from the Aldi Men’s Midlands Tier 2.

With both Derby 1sts and University of Loughborough Men’s 4ths battling the season out, the fate is in Derby’s hands, as they are just three points off top, with a game in hand over the league leaders.

A win tomorrow would take them level on points, with only the opportunity for promotion on the cards, as the title cannot be taken due to their head to head record.

When asked about how the players are feeling going into tomorrow and the mood amongst the squad, Sutcliffe said: “Yesterday was probably our best training session all season, and yeah we’re all very happy. I think the thing that needs to be understood is that we’re genuinely really looking forward to playing tomorrow.

“And if we could play in probably the next 30 minutes, we’d be out there on the pitch warming up, ready to get rocking and rolling.”

The Derby 1sts coach was also asked about what him and his team can expect from Oxford. “I feel that they will come to try and win the game, and I feel that they will come to try and get the ball into their better players and do that very quickly,” he said. “But I don’t feel that they can.”

Arnold Marimbe, the team’s current top goal scorer in the league this season, was asked about dealing with pressure in high stake games and finding his calmness when he steps onto the football pitch with all the players.

He said: “I think it is good that we are the team that we are. You know that when you step out onto the pitch, you have ten other guys that are going to go to war with you.”

Marimbe added that training has been at its best. “Yesterday we had a session and it was a very enjoyable session,” he said. “Enjoying yourself is good because I think that alleviates pressure before such big games.”