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Women's Team manager Luke Podmore delighted with "successful" pre-season campaign

Women’s Team manager Luke Podmore delighted with Eight games, five wins and fifteen goals later, Luke Podmore’s FC United Women side have completed another fruitful pre-season campaign and are more ready than ever for the upcoming season. Promotion to the Premier Division of the North West Women’s Regional League was followed by an entertaining summer of pre-season action in which Podmore saw his United side pick up five wins from eight games. Before pre-season, Podmore insisted that he wanted his team to gain "the fitness element, the tactical element and the psychological element", looking back on it, he was more than impressed with the outcome.

"It’s always important to look for more from your team in these games. Overall, we had one of the best pre-seasons this team has ever had in terms of preparing for a season. We’ve dealt with losing well, everybody wants to see us lose, but we’ve shown that we can deal with those pressures as a group. We wanted tough games, we got tough games. We wanted to test ourselves, we tested ourselves. We wanted to be fitter than we ever have been before, we’re fitter than we have ever been. Finally, we wanted to be more of a team than we have ever been, and I believe that we are now. To me, that defines a successful pre-season. If you look at the teams around us, we’ve probably had one of the toughest pre-season tests, so I think we’re going into the season more prepared than we have ever been before."

Although winning may not have been the complete focus for Podmore and the Reds, the boss has outlined the importance that wins over Everton Dev, Isle of Man Ladies, Brighouse Town LFC, Cardiff City FC Women and Liverpool Feds Reserves, over the last few weeks. "Pre-season isn’t all about winning, it’s about the full package but every game that we play is one that we want to win - it’s the the first priority. We wanted to win well by getting other things out of the game and we’ve been so good at doing that. We continued to be us and frustrate teams at higher levels than we’re at, it’s great for the confidence going into the season, it creates reference points that we can look back on to help us throughout the season."

Podmore may have obtained plenty from his team on the pitch over the course of pre-season but admits that watching the team chemistry grow, particularly after the trip to Cardiff, has been a big bonus of the summer months. "We planned the Cardiff trip with everything in mind. Obviously we brought in a few new signings so trips like this were massively important. We’re a close group and an even closer one now. It was planned to be late in pre-season as it gives us great momentum and that feel good factor going into the season. We went there with ambition and a great attitude, it was one of the most outstanding performances I’ve ever seen from this team. If we can replicate that at any point throughout the season, I can’t see anybody stopping us. It’s moments like that where you see everything coming together, these are the foundations laid for a successful season. You can’t put a price on players getting on, bonding together and all working towards that common goal. We’re where we wanted to be after pre-season, it will only get better from here.

Having won the treble last season, Podmore stated the importance on finding the right personalities to add to his squad for the upcoming season - personalities that he thoroughly believe will thrive here at Broadhurst Park, this season. "The new signings have come in and fit into the group superbly. It’s about finding that right person first and the player second, we believe that we’ve done that this summer. The players that we’ve brought in have bought into the ethos we have here and it’s made us a better side overall. I owe it to the players we had here previously, they let the new additions into the group and really embraced them as both people and players because they know that the competition it brings will make everyone better. The players know that they need eachother to get the most out of them all, that is what brought us the success that we had last season and I hope we can do the same again this time round."

Podmore insists that the players know what is expected of them this season and believes that his side are more than capable of going that one step further. "We have targets for the season, as a team. We all know what we need to achieve, we all know what we want to achieve and I believe that the players are more than capable of achieving those targets this year maybe even over-achieving those goals, which is a mindset that we want them to have. This year we’ve set targets that will test us, we will really find out what we’ve got in that dressing room - so far from this squad I’ve seen confidence and belief in eachother and the setup here."

Ahead of Sunday’s season opener against Didsbury FC Ladies in the First Qualifying Round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup, Podmore is excited about the potential platform that the well-renowned competition can give United, this season. "The FA Cup is a special competition in both the men’s and women’s game. It’s one of the most famous domestic cup competitions in the world. The excitement comes from that opportunity you get to shout about what you’re doing, it’s a competition with great exposure. You want to test yourselves against different teams from different areas and really put yourself out there as a football club. Last year we were incredibly hard done to in the FA Cup, we want to do everything we possibly can this year using that anger and motivation to put that right. It was hard to take and so we want to give it a real good go this year and I hope that will be the catalyst to help us."

With tomorrow’s game at New Mills in mind, Podmore is determined for his team to start strongly and kick-off the season with a showing that will hopefully set the Reds up for another exciting year ahead. "Sunday is the start of our campaign, we’re all together, it could be the start of something special. Each player has to play every game like it’s their last, for themselves, for the club, for me and for the fans. If we do that, I think we’ll do really really well, not just on Sunday but throughout the season. Everyone has to understand their worth and know why they’re here because when the team grasps that special things can happen."

You can see Luke Podmore and FCUMW kick-off their season with the visit of Didsbury FC Ladies at New Mills (SK22 4NP), in the First Qualifying Round of the 2018-19 SSE Women’s FA Cup, tomorrow afternoon (2pm KO).

We hope to see you there!

By Mikey Partington

First Posted ~ 20:49 Sat 1 Sep 2018
News ID ~ 8013
Last Updated ~ 17:00 Fri 19 Feb 2021