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Women's Football News
Brighouse Town manager Rob Mitchell is looking forward to leading his side into their first ever FA Women's Premier League match on Sunday.
The North East League Champions start life in the league with a home match against Morecambe in Northern Division One and Rob told Women's Soccer Scene that it has meant a lot of hard work since winning promotion.
"We are starting to adjust to the step up in to the Women's Premier League," he said. "The demands - not just on the pitch but off it - are very different from the NERWFL which, by the way, is a top league run by very good people.
"Both financially and with the administration involved, it's a big task and that's before we have even kicked a ball.
"The team is shaping up nicely, we've managed to bring in one or two with Premier League experience; the likes of Abigail Barker from Bradford City and Charlotte Proud from Guiseley will give us something different going forward. Steph Jones has joined us from York City and has previously played for Bradford, which will give much needed competition for the number one spot.
"The most pleasing thing we've noticed is the amount of quality young players who have joined the club during the off season. Danielle Brown, who was captain of the Leeds Centre of Excellence side, and Tegan McGill from the North Yorkshire Centre will really add competition in the first team squad. We are really big on giving young players with potential an opportunity and have looked at several players during pre-season in various positions and they haven't disappointed.
"We were delighted to welcome back the majority of last season's squad which we feel is important when making the step up, it means we can hit the ground running and get the new girls playing our style of play and be familiar with the different systems we adopt.
"We were lucky enough to be able to add a further team to club and will now operate with three senior sides for the 2016-17 season. It simply means even more opportunities to represent the club and offers further competition and promotion from within. The addition of our very own junior girls section will also back this up for years to come if managed correctly.
"We are now competing with experienced sides who in some cases have the financial power to attract some really big names, sometimes that doesn't always work and we will be focused on creating an environment based on hard work where everyone knows their role within the team making us hard to break down but at the same time, give the player that freedom in attacking areas to express themselves and create something for us.
"The level has cranked up now and I feel we are up for the challenge."
What is the expectation for Brighouse this season? "Who knows?" he replies. "We just want to literally take it each game at a time and see where that takes us. If we secure safety as quick as possible, we can then start looking up but we will remain grounded and just do our very best each game.
"Our sponsors, RRG Toyota Huddersfield and Bradford Lexus, have been fantastic and so supportive to not just us as a club, but to women's football in the local area. Other sponsors see that we are associated with such a big brand and want to get involved, which is only good news for us."
When asked of the games he is most looking forward to, Mitchell is setting his sights on the local battles: "Probably the likes of Guiseley and Leeds due to their locality and of course Hull who we have had many a battle with. It's hard to describe them as rivals because I get on really well with all the managers at those clubs and wish them well for the season. It will be nice to go to a fair few grounds we have never visited before and be able to test ourselves against some quality opposition."
So who does Rob predict to win the league? "I would have to say Guiseley will be up there as well as Liverpool Feds, who always seem to challenge, but Leeds have been making big noises about their intentions as well as Hull who have recruited very well. It's really tough to pick one with so many top quality sides in a very tight league.
"Our Reserve team has a new manager in Jonathon Holden, he is a quality addition and has brought in a fair few very good players to compliment both the reserves and the first team. He is very similar to myself and I've known him a while now, which is always nice when someone new comes in to the club. He has great ideas and I am really looking forward to working with him as well the rest of the coaching team.
"Jay Milomo has come in as our physio, an area we were desperate to add to, Colin Tomkins will continue as assistant with Andy Stokes as first team coach and Jordan Porter completing the first team coaching staff as Goalkeeping Coach. Jonathon will be backed up by Graham Binns and the development team will be managed by Anthony Harris who I am sure will do a fantastic job in his first coaching role."
Photo - Brighouse Town striker Jodie Redgrave.
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