ITFC Women's Boss Hoping Derby Can Provide Kickstart
Tuesday, 3rd Sep 2019 13:59
Boss Joe Sheehan hopes a derby win over Norwich City in front of a big crowd at the Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe on Wednesday evening will help kickstart ITFC Women’s ambitious long-term plans. (KO 7.45pm).
Sheehan, who took over as manager in February, expects Wednesday’s game to be every bit as combative as the corresponding men’s fixtures.
“I think with the history of both clubs in this region there’s always been a rivalry there, so I think it’s no different for the women from the men,” Sheehan told TWTD.
“It’ll be my first experience of one, I stepped into the role the day after last year’s derby so I missed on it, but I’m assuming it’s as feisty as the men’s derby, it should be good.”
The Tractor Girls lost both games last season but Sheehan says few of those involved remain at the club.
“I’m not sure how many players that played last year are actually in this year’s squad,” he reflected.
“So I don’t think you can talk about revenge because a lot of the girls wouldn’t have been part of those two fixtures. It’s a new experience for them as it is for me.”
Having drawn their opening FA Women's National League South East Division One game 1-1 at home to AFC Wimbledon, then lost 6-0 at Southampton in the FA Women’s National League Cup, ITFC Women thrashed Kent Football United 4-0 in Dartford in the league on Sunday to get their season up and running and see them to third in the table.
Sheehan (below) says it was a confidence-building result and performance ahead of the derby.
“It was really important to us,” he added. “I think we had 26 shots in total and had the pitch been better we would probably have scored double figures.
“It was certainly evidence of what we are capable of and it was really important before we got to this game because we’ve got a really, really young group and there will be a lot of people at the match.
“While we know they have the ability to play at this level as well as probably the league above this, at this age they probably needed a good convincing win just to prove that and it should carry us well into Wednesday’s game.”
Sheehan believes the crowd can play a significant part on Wednesday night and he hopes the game will help springboard interest in the team.
“It can and we’ve got such an ambitious long-term vision and this could really kickstart that,” he continued.
“I don’t know what sort of figures we’re looking at but I think the crowd for our derby last year was about 140 and we had more than that for our opening league game against AFC Wimbledon .
“I think there’ll be a lot, lot more than that on Wednesday and some good support from the men’s staff and players as well we hope. It should be a really good atmosphere.”
Right midfielder Sophie Welton (above) was on Saturday’s Life’s a Pitch on Radio Suffolk (36mins 24secs) and said she hoped that there would be plenty of fans at the Goldstar Ground.
“The more support the better, we’re trying to get as many people involved to help our performance,” she said.
“Being our local rivals, it’s more pressure on us and we feel we need to get a win for the town.”
Welton, 25, believes it’s important for the team not to get carried away by the occasion.
“We’ve got to stick to our football,” she added. “If we go 1-0 down or whatever we just need to get back up and keep going, we can’t let the atmosphere take over, we have to just keep playing our football.”
Norwich City Women are currently ninth in the table having won 4-2 at C&K Basildon in their opening game before losing 4-1 at home to Stevenage on Sunday.
Entry is free for Town season ticket holders and otherwise is £3 for adults and £1 for concessions, while under-16s are admitted free.
Photos: Ross Halls
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