Alnwick Town Ladies FC are preparing for their second competitive season, and manager Peter Hately is confident new additions to the squad his given him more strength in depth.
“As our second season is about to get under way, I couldn’t be happier with the squad we have assembled,” he said.
“The main target for the summer was to ensure our squad was stronger than last season. It unquestionably is.
“The turnover of players has been slightly greater than I expected but our new players have added real quality and depth to an already impressive squad.
“Our pre-season results give us reason to be optimistic for the season ahead.
“Victories against South Shields, Tynedale and Wallsend BC, all from the league above us, have turned a few heads and few sides will relish the trip to St James’ Park this season.
“The SSE Women’s FA Cup 1st Round Qualifying will be our first competitive fixture on September 2, with a trip to either South Shields or Durham Cestria.
“This will be followed by another difficult away tie against Durham Cestria in the NERWFL Cup on September 16.
“To be honest, we couldn’t have had more difficult draws in both these competitions and we hope to get a more favourable draw in the third of our cup competitions, the Bluefin Insurance County Cup.
“The cup competitions always create excitement around the club but our undoubted priority this season is our league campaign.
“The step up to the North East Regional Women’s Football League (NERWFL) will be more challenging than many imagine.
“Our division (Northern Division) this season is probably the strongest it has ever been.
“Only the league champions are guaranteed promotion to the NERWFL Premier Division, meaning this is a notoriously difficult division to get out of.
“That has to be the target though, given the squad we have assembled, and I know all our players are looking forward to the challenge.”
Before Sunday’s final pre-season game, at home against Newcastle United’s second string, which the Geordies won 3-2, Hately said: “This should be a really competitive game and we hope to attract a good crowd on the day.
“We have a team to be proud of here at Alnwick Town and the support we get is always appreciated.
“Finally, thanks to everyone who has worked behind the scenes to get St James’ looking so impressive for the start of what I hope will be another successful season for the girls.”