Derby County Ladies Football Club

Bennett Looks to Positive 2018

Ewe Rams Manager, John Bennett goes into this winter break, buoyed by recent performances and keen for his side to continue their recent fine form in the new year.

“Things appear to be clicking a bit now, both in terms of performances and results. Prior to that the performances were generally quite good; however we were failing to convert possession and chances into goals and results. What we are seeing now is a resilience within the group and that bit of know how in terms of coming up with different solutions to deliver the right end product.

“We’ve won three on the spin now and if you look at them, they were all very different. Against Forest in the local derby, a combination of resolve and quality saw us come from two down to win, and we followed that up with a measured ‘text book’ away performance at Huddersfield.

“Last time out in the FA Cup against Hull City, we could have felt sorry for ourselves, having been taken to penalties on the back of dominating large passages of play; however you could see the belief still resonating through the players and it was no surprise that we got the job in hand done.”

With the Ewe Rams sitting in 6th position, with half of their games still to play and involved in two Cup competitions, Bennett feels that the first half of the season has seen the club develop its style, grow as a team and hopes that a top 4 spot is still in sight.

“We got off to a really good start to the season at Stoke which is always a tough place to go and with so many new players it was a bonus. We had a lot of opportunities in the games where we dropped points, we were never outplayed.

“That seems to have manifested itself into a particular steal to always stay in games and I think it gives the squad a big lift, knowing that they have gears that they can go too. It’s not always the way we start, but something can click just like that and when that happens, we are a match for everyone.

‘We had a big change of personnel over the summer but those that have come in are strong characters that have fitted in seamlessly and I have been delighted with their contribution. Those that are here from last season are here because they can see where we want to be and believe in what we are trying to achieve.”

The end of the season will see a big upheaval in terms of women’s football in England with the new tier system coming into place and with the Ewe Rams looking to secure a place in Tier 2, Bennett believes it is the logical next step.

“When I came back to the club, the CEO Duncan Gibb, spoke about the plan to get ourselves into the next tier, the WSL and we were well on the way off the field but needed to build on the pitch too. 

“I firmly believe we are getting there and the recent partnerships with the University for the football scholarships, and the training ground partnership with Merrill Academy will see that manifest itself into our side and give us a big boost.

“The opportunity to go for Tier 2 status was further down the line initially but its too goo an opportunity to not go for and i’m sure that the FA will look favourably on us with all that is in place and it’s a credit to Duncan and his team that we are ready for when the application is open.

“I’m very excited about both the short-term and long-term future of the club and can’t wait for 2018 to begin so we can get back to work on the training ground and get some more positive results on the board and keep the pressure on those above us.”