SANDERS: “We just want to get going”

Manager Lee Sanders can’t wait for the new FA Women’s Championship season to begin – with the Wildcats set for an opening day trip to Sheffield United.

The Wildcats’ boss knows that the trip to Stocksbridge will be a tricky one, but he’s backing his group of players to achieve whatever they want to this season.

Here’s his thoughts ahead of tomorrow’s season opener…

On pre-season…

“I think pre-season has gone really well. We’ve introduced some new staff and players into the squad, while also seeing some others depart – but overall I think we’ve made improvements to the squad. 

“Training has been really good. Steph Libbey, Mark Bell and the rest of the coaching staff are doing a great job and we’ve looked to improve things nutritionally and on the physical performance side of things. We’ve upped the hours as well, so things are looking really positive.

“We’ve had a mixed bag of games prior to this first league game. We’ve had some testing games against Liverpool, Reading and Everton and we’ve been really encouraged by the performances.”

On the confidence gained by beating Everton…

“They’re a Tier 1 side, are full-time and have a squad packed full on international age group players. 

“They like to get the ball down and we’ve had some great battles with them over the last few years and come close. It’s nice that when you’ve come ever so close to beating a team, just to get past that and beat them. It’s an excellent result for everybody.”

On what to expect from Sheffield…

“I think we’ve got to expect a really, really tough game. It’s their first game in the league and their first home game, so the players staff and fans they have there will be really up for it. 

“We’ve just got to approach it like we try and do every game. We’ll go in and prepare our way and things will hopefully take care of themselves.

“As far as we’re concerned we think we’ve prepared right and as long as we play to the best of our ability, that’s what we’ll be happy with.”

On squad selection dilemmas…

“Although we’ve got a smaller squad than we did last season, I think when you look across it, it is extremely strong in all departments. That’s great for the squad and a really important thing for me. 

“It doesn’t matter who we’ve got on the bench, we know that there are game changers there as well as on the pitch. 

“Having trimmed that squad down, it means that there will be probably more opportunities for everybody as well.”

On targets this season…

“I think there’s absolutely no doubt that we have to be seeing ourselves as a contender for promotion this year. We’ve certainly got the experience now and the players have all played a lot of football in this league.

“This set of players can be whatever they want to be this season. They’re class the lot of them. We’ve got bags of talent going forward, a confident middle and a fiercely competitive defensive line so we are looking strong across the board.

“Of course, we’ll respect all the other teams in the league but we have to view ourselves as a contender.”

On whether it will be nerves or excitement come 5pm on Saturday…

“I’m excited. The Continental Cup is great and you get to play some different teams, but I can’t wait for the league to start. 

“It’s a new challenge and there are some different names to face this season. I don’t think there’s any nerves. We’ve been here plenty of times now and just want to get going.”

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