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Women's Football News
After winning the Northern Combination title last season, Huddersfield Town will play in the top flight in the women's winter season for the first time on Sunday.
The West Yorkshire side travel to Blackburn Rovers in the Northern Division and chairman David Mallin told Women's Soccer Scene: "The management and squad are very excited and looking forward to the new challenge of the newly formed FAWPL. We actually started pre-season training in mid-June and have been playing friendlies since mid-July. Everyone has been working hard and are very well prepared.
We have played seven pre-season friendlies and have won all but the last one when we were, frankly, well beaten by a strong Chorley side (who were runners-up to us last season). Maybe that defeat is the wake up call that everyone needed and there will be no complacency when we travel to Brackburn Rovers for our opening game this Sunday.
Huddersfield will have largely the same successful squad from last season but there have been one or two alterations: "We lost one very good player in Alice Linsell to a US Soccer Scholarship, but have gained three excellent young players to strengthen our squad. Katie Lockwood (16) has come through our junior teams and is a strong attacking midfielder. Sammy Conroy played for Nottingham Forest last season and is an excellent midfielder with Premier League pedigree whilst Sophie Scargill played for Leeds United last season and looks to be an excellent young defender."
As for the season ahead, the club is not just setting its sights on consolidation. "Obviously the first target is safety but after that who knows," said Mallin. "The WSL is a carrot being dangled by the FA for the North/South champion team this season and although that's highly unlikely, we aim to be as competitive as possible and, with a little luck, finish in the top half."
However the build up to the new season has been overshadowed by the news that the men's club are to sever ties with the women's team next year. The club has issued a lengthy statement giving their side of the situation, including the following extract:
"As a club, we have maintained a dignified silence until now, preferring to take legal advice as well as making contact with the FA and our own FA Women's Premier League. HTAFC have asked us to confirm in writing that we will agree to their terms, and we will respond in our own time.
"The whole situation is galling and particularly when in HTAFC's new kit launch, they used the image via their Twitter feed of a young girl to promote it, with the words "I'm seven and a half and I want to play for Town". Maybe now she'll be denied that opportunity. As a club we have recently started a Monday night Development Centre at Storthes Hall, which we run for girls aged 7 to 11 years old!"
The statement in full can be viewed at: http://www.htlfc.org.uk/club/News/view/854126
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