Worthing FC caught up with the women's team captain Hannah Hewlett to find out how pre-season has been so far and the influence of new manager Michelle Lawrence.
WFC: Hannah, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for us.
WFC: How is everything shaping up so far in pre-season?
HH: We’re only into the fourth week of pre-season but already there’s a bit of a buzz. It’s great to have so many new faces involved and everyone is gelling well. We’ve got another four-weeks of pre-season ahead with plenty of fixtures so as a group we’re only going to grow stronger.
WFC: What impact do you feel Michelle has had so far on you and your team-mates?
HH: I’ve said it many times already but having someone of Michelle’s calibre coming on board and spearheading the Women’s development at Worthing speaks volumes about the club’s ambitions and direction of travel. Her name and experience attracts players to the club – players want to play for her.
I’m obviously very involved off the pitch as well so it’s been a learning curve for me working with Michelle. Michelle = meticulous. No stone is left unturned. Nothing is ever perfect there is always ways to improve. What we’re starting to see on the pitch is a result of countless hours of work behind the scenes.
Players coming in now not only see the facilities; they see the coaching and backroom staff, they see the professional set up, they see a club they want to be a part of.
WFC: How do you feel the club has progressed off the pitch in the last couple of years?
HH: The first three seasons after the ladies (now women) were formed have been a bit of a roller-coaster on and off the pitch with our fair share of highs and lows. There’s been lots of positive contributions from players and coaches during this time, but we’ve lacked any real consistency. Momentum and consistency come hand in hand and that’s what we’re building at the moment. Over the past six-months there’s been a real change in ethos towards the women at the club – we are now very much part of the club and not just the women’s team associated with the club! It’s the start of a journey and it’s exciting to part of.
WFC: Lastly, how do you think the team will do this season; do you expect the league to be a very tight affair or fairly open between a few clubs?
HH: With promotion only guaranteed for top spot it obviously lends itself to tight affair as everyone wants to get out of the league and progress up the ladder. Last season Crawley were the team to beat but with them entering a team into national reserve league for this campaign (and in essence forfeiting their promotion spot) it changed the dynamic of the league as second spot was able to apply for promotion. There’s always two or three teams in around it for top spot – the goal is always for us is be one of those two or three teams which we didn’t manage last season.
There’s always lots of movement of players in the off season so until the season kicks off its impossible to predict how we will fair against the other teams in the league. I’m confident with the influx of players we’ve had, the coaching set up and, the clubs ambition we will be a very different outfit compared to last season and yes, hopefully we will be in around the battle for top spot.
WFC: Thank you very much Hannah, and we’ll catch up with you as the season progresses.