LIAM Gilbert admits the unique position Oxford United Women find themselves in is a double-edged sword.

The U’s host Billericay Town in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup third round on Sunday and the old cliché of treating every game like a final rings true.

After their FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division campaign was curtailed last month with Gilbert’s side second in the table, only progression in this competition will keep their season alive.

Read the match report from United's second-round win

FA Women’s Championship outfit Charlton Athletic visit the winners in the fourth round next Sunday, but their manager knows they have no choice but to concentrate on this weekend.

“You don’t actually get to think about anything else, but you know if you get something wrong that’s your chance out the window,” Gilbert said.

“We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves, we didn’t do any prep for the next week after the last game.

“We just looked at the one game because otherwise our season would have been done.

“After such a phenomenal season in the league that got curtailed, sights were on that – win that game and we earn another one.

“That’s the sort of mentality we approached this week with.

“If it is one more game after this then brilliant, we’ll go at it the same way.”

United reached this stage with a 1-0 win at Cardiff City Ladies last Sunday in their first game since December 13.

Coronavirus restrictions meant the U’s were only allowed to hold their first training session six days before the trip to Wales, but the squad have maintained a strong bond.

Injured goalkeeper Paris Sercombe even travelled to Cardiff to be part of the group and Gilbert feels this shows their team spirit.

He said: “It didn’t matter what role everybody played – they were just as happy as each other.

“I’ve not been in too many dressing rooms where that’s been the case.

“Paris, who has been our back-up keeper and injured herself, wanted to get a late fitness test to be a part of it so came all the way to Cardiff.

“That sums up a lot what we’re about.

“She took the day off work to do it, I’ve not seen that too often and I just love it.”

With games remaining behind closed doors for now, Sunday’s Cup tie is set to be streamed live online.

Many United fans turned out to support the women when crowds were allowed inside grounds earlier this season and Gilbert revealed their continued backing has not gone unnoticed.

He said: “The support we received on social media after the last game was fantastic and the interest people are taking in this side of the club this season is brilliant.”