OXFORD United Women are the underdogs in their first game for four months, says Liam Gilbert.

The U’s visit Cardiff City Ladies in the FA Cup second round on Sunday, needing a win to keep their season alive.

Lockdown has prevented United from playing since they beat Keynsham Town 3-1 on December 13, with their National League Southern Premier campaign declared null and void last month.

The U’s were second, with a game in hand on leaders Watford, and beat Sunday’s opponents 4-1 in October.

But the different restrictions in Wales means Cardiff began training earlier than United, who only held their first session back on Monday.

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And U’s boss Gilbert believes that will give the hosts the advantage.

He said: “It is a free hit, in terms of we’re coming into this in an underdog position because of how things have played out.

“In that regard there’s no pressure.

“We know the standards we set ourselves week-in, week-out and that’s irrelevant of the lockdown.

“It’s just a game of football and because of the time without one we’ll just be happy to be out there.

“That adrenaline might try to balance the odds.”

Gilbert admitted he was pleasantly surprised by the standards United set in their first session back.

He added: “If I’m completely honest, they’re at a higher level than I hoped for.

“With the fact they’ve had home programmes to follow I wouldn’t have begrudged them having off-days.

“But it’s unbelievable how sharp they’ve looked.”

If they beat Cardiff, the U’s host Billericay Town or Ipswich Town next Sunday.