Exeter City Women’s coach Abbie Britton says the side are excited ahead of the 2019/20 season as they continue to their hard work in pre-season.
The side, who won promotion to the FA Women’s National League Division One South West last season, are set to go into a higher division and Abbie says the hard work prior to the first league match on August 18 will stand them in good stead going into the new season.
She explained: “So far so good. We’ve played one game and won, which is nice, a good start. Training’s been good, high intensity, just what we needed. We’ve got a run of games coming up which will be difficult.”
The side are looking to add to their numbers in the coming weeks with Abbie keen to bring in players with experience to complement a predominantly young first team.
She continued: “We’ve signed Helen Kukor this Tuesday and I’ve got 3-4 in the pipeline which are due to be announced. It’s about a new push now and a new challenge, we’ve got some fantastic players coming up from the Girls Development Centre that are really going to make the first team strong. So, it’s an exciting season.”
With a step up in division Abbie says the squad are working hard to ensure fitness levels are right for the new campaign as they come up against tougher opposition.
“It’s a lot tougher this league we’re going into, not just the playing standard but the actual fitness required in that league as well,” said Abbie. The older heads will definitely provide a good stable platform for the younger ones and hopefully lead them in the right direction.
“Larkhall (City’s opponents on the opening day) are a tough team. They finish up around midtable most seasons. I know them from my Bristol days, and a few players who I know play there. So it’s not going to be an easy game, no game this season will be easy. But we’ve got to be excited, we’ve got to take the positives of last season and hopefully take a positive pre-season and hopefully start well and get some confidence onboard really.”
New this year is the Development team that will act as a reserve side to the first team and could often see players break into the first team if they impress. Abbie credited Exeter City Community Trust and Exeter City for their support in helping to grow the women’s side of the football club.
She continued: “It’s amazing. Last week when we had the trials, we had almost 20 people turn up to that, it was fantastic, to see all them again today training with Craig (Butler) is brilliant. It’s a testament to the club and the support that we’ve had from them to push that, and long may it continue.
“I think it’s overdue that this team has a development team or a second team, which we’re calling them in house. I know their title is development team, but they are going to be a reserve team to the first team. So, I hope that they can have a very successful season both on and off the pitch.”
With a new campaign on the horizon, Abbie says the side are aiming to be competitive in their new division and is keen to get off to a fast start in August.
She said: “I’m not going to say to win the league, but if we did win the league, we would be very happy with that. We want to compete; we see ourselves being top four or five in the league and I don’t see why we can’t be.
“We played Cheltenham and Buckland last season and we took them close so if we could do that over a prolonged period of time then I can’t see why we couldn’t finish in the top half. We’ve got a great start to the season, we’ve got a couple of games at home so I think it would be brilliant if we could make our Cullompton pitch a fortress so to speak and really kick on then on a good platform for the season.”