Rhianne Oakley in action for Cardiff City Women

City in Focus | Rhianne's Return to Fitness

As City prepare for an important period of upcoming fixtures, the Bluebirds have received a huge boost with the return of striker Rhianne Oakley.

The striker sustained a hamstring tear (grade two) in a 3-1 win over Wrexham back in January.

However, with her high level of commitment, hard work and the support of the Club, the attacker returned in the final game of Phase One against Swansea City, before starting in our most recent victory over Aberystwyth Town.

Reflecting on her time on the sidelines, Rhianne said: “Every injury is frustrating, but it was the first game back after Christmas and I was really excited to finish off Phase One and get ready for Phase Two. I remember just sprinting and it went, so it was frustrating for me.

“It was mentally challenging, every injury is going to be, but I just had to make sure that I accepted the injury, that I was patient with it and that I trusted the process. I rehabilitated as best as I could. There was no point in rushing the injury.

“It was a hard time for me, but I wanted to be back fit for Phase Two. We were looking at about six to eight weeks, which would land the week before Phase Two started. I didn’t want to miss out on that, so I was making sure that even outside of training, I was doing my rehabilitation, I was going swimming and doing everything I could do to help my body to come back as soon as possible.”

Rhianne Oakley in action for Cardiff City Women

Despite being unavailable for selection, Rhianne was still a valued part of the City squad, offering her experience to the squad in an important part of the campaign.

 “The Club were really good with me,” Rhianne continued. “Aimi [Healey-Bracher] and Maisie [Gudmunsen] worked together to make me a plan and that was agreed with Iain [Darbyshire]. The support was really good. It wasn’t a case of just sending me a plan to do at home, they brought me in, so I still felt like I was included in training, rather than just being on my own. Every step I went through, they were really supportive and were really happy for me when I came back.

“I think the main thing when you are injured is to have that support around you, whether that’s friends or family and people around the Club. Even though I was injured, coming into training and being around the girls and the staff really helped me to get through my injury.

“Being a leader and someone who has played in the league a bit more than some of our younger players have, it was still important for me to be around and give advice to players. It’s great to see Bash (Olivia Basham) and Maddie (Madison Lloyd) coming up and getting minutes in the senior team, because they do deserve it. It’s important for me to help them out, whether that’s in training or in games.”

Rhianne Oakley in action for Cardiff City Women

Having returned ahead of Phase Two, Rhianne gives City a boost before some crucial fixtures.

The Bluebirds face Swansea City in the Bute Energy Welsh Cup Semi-Final at the SDM Glass Stadium on Sunday, 2pm KO.

The City striker concluded: “It felt amazing to be back on the pitch and I was really glad that I came on and got some minutes against Swansea. Obviously, the game didn’t go how we wanted it to, but that’s football and that’s the way the game goes sometimes. I just have to focus on the next few games now and hopefully, I can play as many minutes as I can to help the team to get to where we should be in terms of our level of performance.

“I want to make sure that my comeback is stronger than my setback. It’s about ensuring that I’m training at my best, so I’m playing at my best. I want to do as much as I can to make sure that I’m performing and helping the team, whether that’s scoring, assisting, or just giving 100% in my all-round performance.”