Huddersfield Town Women FC chair Alison Bamforth says the first team are still looking for that extra 1% to make the difference in games this campaign as manager Glen Preston looks to emulate last season’s success.
Bamforth believes the club can achieve better things this season but acknowledges that the young squad need to be more consistent in matches moving forward.
The Terriers currently sit 5th in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division having played seven matches so far. Their cup journeys are yet to properly start although they did beat Penistone Church 16-0 in the County Cup last Sunday as they look to defend the trophy they won last season.
On how things are going so far Bamforth said: “On the pitch, we’ve been playing some good football, and there are some great partnerships developing. However, our league results to date (three wins, two draws and two defeats) show that we’re still looking for that consistency to push on.
“At times we’ve controlled a game but need to work on taking those goal scoring opportunities when they arise to put games to bed.
“The coaching staff and the squad are all working incredibly hard at training to nail these small 1% gains that will make the difference as the season goes on.
“We’re currently sitting 5th in the table with a game in hand on a couple of those around us, but we’re aiming higher.
“The League Cup and FA Cup competitions are yet to start for us, and we’ve only played the 1st round of the County Cup, but we’re looking to emulate last season’s achievements of reaching the FA Cup 4th Round, the League Cup Final and winning the County Cup.”
Bamforth added: “This season we have been delighted to expand our first team coaching set-up, with Nick Hegarty and Kyle O’Reilly coming on board to support Glen Preston.
“We’ve also got one or two exciting new faces in the squad, including midfielder Katie Anderson who joins Town Women after spells at Sheffield United and Blackburn Rovers and goalkeeper Lauren Joyce who rejoins the club after a spell at Leeds United.
“We’re a young squad with several players under 18, including keeper Abi Megeary who joined from Sheffield FC and young striker Laura Hulme who is pushing for first team football after progressing from our junior set-up.”
Off the field, Bamforth says the club is still looking for an outside investor to boost the income the club already generates. This will be crucial in the coming years as women’s football grows and the competition gets tougher.
She said: “We’re still looking for that key investor to enable Huddersfield Town Women to make that next step towards becoming a professional, or semi-professional club.
“This is something that our players and management team are increasingly hungry to achieve, and I am confident that they have the skills and talent needed to compete and thrive at that level.
“We are one of only a few teams in our league who are still fully amateur. None of our players or staff are paid, and our players pay subs or find personal sponsorship to play.
“Increasingly, teams in our league are gaining significant backing from either their men’s team or elsewhere in the private sector, and I feel that this will become increasingly important in the future.
“We are grateful for the support we have already received from HTAFC, particularly in terms of access to a training pitch and hosting last season’s FA Cup fixture against Everton at the John Smith’s Stadium, and we look forward to continuing to build this relationship moving forward.”
Women’s football overall has taken a huge boost from the England Lionesses European Championships success in the summer. The Town Women have seen some positive outcomes from this at local level.
Bamforth explained: “We have definitely seen an increase in interest in the team both in terms of the media and social media engagement, and our junior team open training sessions attracted record numbers in pre-season, however this hasn’t translated into an increase in crowds just yet.
“I think there are a number of factors contributing to this; one key factor being that we still have a lot of work to do to raise awareness of Huddersfield Town Women.
“As all our team are volunteers, we juggle our football work alongside our ‘day jobs’ and we know that we can do more on such as social media.
“We would welcome new volunteers who would like to gain experience in any aspect of football media (photography, social media, marketing) to get in touch and help us continue to get the club’s name out there and get the players the recognition they deserve.”
Back to on-the-field matters and the season starts to get busy from now on and Bamforth said: “The winter period will be hugely important.
“We start our FA Women’s National League Cup campaign away to Loughborough at the end of this month, then we are due to enter the Vitality Women’s FA Cup at the first round stage in mid-November.
“Alongside a busy league calendar and County Cup fixtures, there will certainly be plenty going on!
“At this level, the biggest factor we can’t control in winter is the weather – as we don’t have the luxury of under pitch heating, sophisticated drainage systems etc, a period of rain, snow or ice can lead to match postponements – and fixture congestion later in the season.”