Derby County Ladies Football Club

Development Team Ready for New Season

It’s been a frustrating few weeks for Derby County Ladies Development Team Manager Tommy Booth, with the new season well underway, but this weekend will see the second string Ewe Rams finally get their campaign underway.

Moving into his second season as Manager, Booth reflects on last season and what he thinks went well and what he believes he has learnt from last season.

Booth said “Personally I learnt a lot last season, both about myself as a manager and a coach, and about the team, the league, and women’s football in general. I was doing everything at this level for the first time, and from a personal point of view, pre-season last year wasn’t anywhere near good enough.

“As a result, I feel we spent a good few weeks at the start of last season getting used to the shape and system and it took probably a few months before we as a coaching team were happy with how we were performing.

“Last season I felt that we had a very good plan A, but we struggled to offer much more when we came against teams who set out to prevent us playing, or teams like Stoke, who were very good offensively.”

Having learnt lessons about both the women’s game and about his squad, Booth is in a much more confident mood heading into the season and feels a dynamic pre-season programme will have given his squad a boost as well as the the new faces that have improved his side.

Booth said “We worked hard to organise a competitive schedule, and I feel we have really benefited from this and go into this season in a much better position.

“I was really impressed with how well we played against Long Eaton, and I don’t feel like it would have flattered us had we ended up scoring 4 or 5 against opposition from a higher division.

“We were also totally surprised by the score line at Belles, however despite how well we played in both these games, I’m not naïve enough to believe the teams we played will be the teams playing for them in the league now.

“We do have quite a few new faces. A couple of the new faces are people that we gave a chance to towards the end of last season. People like Taviah, who really impressed at right back in the handful of games she played for us last year, and is one who I feel will really progress this year.

“Also Ella who has come back from America and Naomi who we have brought up from the RTC look like they could form a dangerous partnership in attack.

“We’ve lost a quality player in Anita who has gone to study in America, and naturally have let of few players go, but the new additions have massively strengthened the squad and I’m hopeful that we will be really competitive this season.”

So with Women’s football being turned on its head this summer, what is Booth expecting from the new season and after a up and down 2017/18 season for his squad, where does he see the Ewe Rams second string sitting in the hierarchy of the league.

“A key thing that we (the coaches) tasked ourselves with when we came in was to change the mentality of the squad. We inherited a good football team, but felt a lot of them had little ambition and drive to go and play for the firsts.

“Maybe this was because they struggled to see a pathway though, but I feel this has changed, and hopefully we’ll start seeing the rewards of this this season. We were unfortunate with injuries and illnesses at a few stages last year, and we struggled our way through a few games due to this.

“We drifted away towards the end when we knew the league wasn’t realistic and we started to focus on what we needed going forward. But we had the players to do a lot better than we did, and as I’ve already said, we’ve strengthen in most areas so I expect us to be a lot closer to the top this season.

“We don’t really know what to expect from the league this year. It’s no secret that women’s football seems to have been turned on its head, and I’m not quite sure if that would have had a drip down effect on our division.

“You’d imagine the likes of Stoke and Leicester will be towards the top, especially with the improvements that Leicester’s first team would have made.

“West Brom, Coventry and Loughborough were also a lot more competitive last season, so if they keep making improvements, it wont be easy, but we ourselves had made improvements, and I’ll be going into every game thinking we can win.”

The Development Team open their campiagn with a home clash with Coventry United Ladies Reserves at Mickleover Sports FC in a 2pm Kick-Off. All support is welcome!