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Women's Football News
Manager Gemma Donnelly told Women's Soccer Scene that things have exceeded her expectations when the season began, but also insisted that there is more work to do in order to make it even more successful.
"This season has been hugely successful and better than I could have anticipated," she admitted. "I was confident at the start of the season and with the players I had retained and brought in that something special could happen but not even I would have predicted the success of this season.
"With three games left and the ladies still unbeaten, I mean how does that happen? They have been so determined to achieve their targets and that has given them real drive and ambition.
"In November, with long serving captain Lynda Shepherd receiving the FAWPL Player of the Season at the FA awards, that in itself I was immensely proud of.
"Then the season has just continued to get better. Obviously there has been disappointment with the FA Cup and being beaten at home by Tottenham, especially in the circumstances that it happened (96th minute wonder goal) and then again in the FA WPL League Cup, losing to Charlton away despite the manhunt efforts from the girls to achieve their first Cup Final.
"This being said, there are certainly more positives than negatives and the main one for me is winning the league in March, unbeaten and amassing both points and goals to confirm this. I can't remember a team being so dominant in this league. Maybe Sheffield a few seasons back, but even they didn't muster zero losses.
"In hindsight the two games we have lost have probably fuelled the players even more and we are now focused on finishing the league in style, retaining the County Cup and then putting in a performance of a lifetime in the FA WPL Championship game.
"I would also like to acknowledge the accolade of the Manager of the Month award and make it clear that it would mean nothing to receive that without the team I have around me. Players and every single member of staff. So I gladly accept the award but on behalf of everyone that is involved at Blackburn Rovers Ladies.
"And lastly, I would like to ensure that Blackburn Rovers F and A Ltd are included in this as they provide such a great deal of support both on and off the pitch. And this is not just this season. This has stemmed for many seasons and their continued interest and passion for the female game has allowed me to establish a fantastic set up at Rovers.
"On behalf of everyone at Blackburn Rovers I would like to thank all the well wishers and supporters and fans for their very kind messages and I absolutely hope we can serve the club proud in the finals stages of this season."
The benchmark was set from the opening game win against Stoke City and away victories against Fylde Ladies and second placed Middlesbrough were particularly important results.
Gemma is assisted by coach Scott MacNeil and both are keen to stress that this has been a team effort from everybody, including Kyle Wareing (Performance Coach), Ryan Shorrock (Video Analyst), Iain Hall (Goalkeeping Coach) and Matt Steel (Physiotherapist). The team is captained by Lynda Shepherd and leading scorers are Saffron Jordan and Ella Toone with 20 and 18 goals respectively in all competitions.
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