ITFC Women Start Season on Sunday With Boss Aiming to Win League
Sunday, 18th Aug 2019 09:38
Ipswich Town Women go into their opening Women’s National League Division One South East fixture at home to AFC Wimbledon Ladies on Sunday with manager Joe Sheehan targeting the title (Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe, KO 2pm).
“We want to win the league,” Sheehan told TWTD. “As well as that, we also need to win the league in some respects.
“We’ve got a really strong U21 group, out of 18 we’ve got 11 who are capped nationally and their time with us could be limited if our club doesn’t progress up the football pyramid quickly enough.
“We want to win the league, not just for the benefit of a younger ones, but also in terms of increasing the reputation and the brand of the club, not just the women’s side, it’s a big ambition for us.
“And we want to do it in style in some ways as well, we want to make a big impression and really progress the football club and build a fanbase and potential sponsors long term, and we’ll only do that by playing entertaining football.
“There’s a bit of pressure on us, which we’re happy to deal with, and big ambitions and it all starts this Sunday.”
Town have made four signings over the summer, midfielder Blue Wilson has joined from Manchester City, full-back Chloe Dunn from Limestone College, South Carolina, winger or full-back Ellie Rossiter from Davis & Elkins College, West Virginia and keeper Nikita Runnacles from Billericay Town.
Sheehan, who is also the lead coach of the FA Women’s U21 East Region Academy, which is based at Playford Road, expects Sunday's opponents to be fellow contenders.
“They’re due to be up there as well,” he added. “I don’t know too much about most of the teams in the league but I know what we’re capable of and I’d like to think that with what we've got over the 22 games there’s a very good chance that we could get the job done.”
Sheehan, who has managed ITFC Women since February, hopes his team will benefit from the interest in the women’s game generated by this summer’s World Cup.
“Definitely, and we also hope that the men’s first team can also be really positive, the two teams going up would be amazing," he added.
“Unfortunately for us, the margin for error is pretty small, only one goes up. You win the league you go up, you finish second, you don’t.
“History will tell you that the last couple of teams that have won the league have dropped the odd point or two or three, so over 22 games you’ve probably got to win 20 of them if we’re going by the last couple of seasons.
“The margin for error is pretty small, which is why we have to get it right most weeks, it could be down to the odd point.”
The aim on Sunday is to start off with a confidence-boosting victory: “That’s the plan. We’ll have a good team out. We’ve actually registered all of our younger players as well as our seniors.
"We’ve called six of them up to the squad [Maddie Biggs, Lucy Egan, Abbie Lafayette, Paige Peake, Sophie Peskett and Blue Wilson], which is not something we planned on doing, we were only going to use one or two, but we haven’t particularly done enough as a senior group yet.
“I think the younger ones have had that little bit more time and are up to speed a lot quicker, so we’re not taking any risks with our squad, we’re going flat-out, full strength.”
Entry is free for ITFC season ticket holders and under-16s, while prices are otherwise £3 for adults, £1 for concessions.
For more information on ITFC Women, follow their social media channels via @ITFCWomen or visit their website.
Photos: ITFC Women
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