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Luke Podmore relishing his first pre-season

Luke Podmore relishing his first pre-season

After taking over the role of Women’s Team manager just before Christmas last season, Luke Podmore is relishing his first Pre-Season campaign at Broadhurst Park. He guided the Women’s Team to a cup double during the last campaign, despite coming in halfway through the season, after the resignation of previously long-standing manager Lee Sutton.

After not having a pre-season campaign to go off last season, Luke is already making the most of the weeks leading up to the season, which started for his side back at Broadhurst Park nine days ago with some of pre-season testing. A day which he has highlighted as one that was of “huge importance”.

"Obviously it’s very important because that’s your baseline level to work from. The one thing we wanted to make sure of when I arrived in December was to be more professional because we didn’t have a pre-season last year. This year from the outset we’ve been able to set the standard about what we want to do, what we expect from the players and now you can already see it’s much more of a professional setup. We need this data to try and move us on now because we’re not just planning for next year, we’re planning for the year after and the year after that".

And with a full pre-season ahead of himself with the squad, Luke is more than eager to get back on the touchline for the start of his first full season as manager. "I just cannot wait! With the amount of ideas we’ve got, the amount of time we’ve got with players now without results at the moment being the most important thing, we can try new things. We’ve also got some new players to bed in which I’ve been able to bring in myself - we’re looking forward to it".

Not only does the manager believe pre-season is important for physical preparation, but is key to results in the next year too. "We want to try and win as many games as we possibly can [this season] and giving myself a full pre-season with the players will go a long way into doing that".

Targeting another successful season in the coming months, Podmore is hoping to see his squad set the tone right from the off in pre-season "We want to start as we mean to go on. We want to make sure in that first game we set the marker down".

"We’ve got some really good fixtures but the first one is always the most important and Crewe will give us a good test", he added.

The Reds got pre-season underway last Sunday hosting Crewe Alexandra LFC at Broadhurst Park (3G) before travelling to the Midlands to face Burton Albion LFC in a reverse fixture to last season’s pre-season game in which FC came out on top at Broadhurst Park, winning 1-0 thanks to an early Chloe Wild goal. Trips to Preston North End LFC and Nelson Ladies will then follow in the following weeks with Leeds Ladies, Brighouse Town LFC, Rhyl & Prestatyn LFC, Blackburn Community LFC and Doncaster Belles DS all set to make the trip to Broadhurst Park before the season starts in early September. "It’s good for me to see where people are at this point in the development of pre-season and it highlights areas where we can nail ahead of the actual season starting".

With Crewe being the first opponents in what will be a testing pre-season line-up for the Reds, Podmore certainly isn’t taking the fixture lightly possessing some key expectations of his side across the 90 minutes on Sunday; "I’ve got some ideas in my head that we want to look at ahead of the season. We want to get as much out of the game physically as we can, so I expect our intensity levels to be at the very top throughout the whole of the game. Obviously being a friendly, I can make changes when needed in order to keep that intensity up".

Many of the Broadhurst Park faithful can expect to see a number of new faces in the side for the first time on Sunday, faces that Podmore has played an integral part in bringing to the club so far over the summer. Last week, Coral O’Keefe became Podmore’s first signing of the summer from Stoke City LFC and was quickly followed by further exciting talent in being announced as FC players. Rebecca Foster’s signing from Urmston Meadowside was then announced the next day with starlet Anya Donelan joining the following day from AFC Fylde Ladies. A more recent signing in the past few days was that of Ella Schickhoff, who like Donelan has come from AFC Fylde Ladies. All four signings look to carry superb talent that will add to an already gifted squad and Podmore could only praise the talent that has joined the club over the last week "We’re going to get something a lot different than we’ve had so far. I think the level of player is only going to go up and obviously that allows us to try different things, be a little bit more dangerous in areas that we perhaps weren’t last year. They’ll give us that bit more belief to push ourselves on and make us believe that we are a better team and that we can compete with these Premier League teams as well as these teams above us in pre-season".

With four new players already through the door, Podmore indicated that they won’t be the only ones and he will be further adding to his squad before the start of the season "Yeah there’ll be a couple more new signings in the next week - you’ll just have to wait and see what those are!"

New signings won’t be the only announcements in the next week to come either, with Luke mentioning announcements on retained players for the start of the 2017/18 season are due to be made public within the next week. “We’ve been working hard on getting the retained players signed on for the upcoming season over the last few weeks and we’re expecting to announce them over the coming days”. Club captain Kirsty Chambers and Players’ Player of the season Francesca Davies were the first of the retained players to be confirmed earlier today with further announcements on fellow confirmed players to be made in the near future.

With the full season right ahead of him, he isn’t holding back with league ambitions for his side over the coming months "Anyone that looks at the league table from last year would be a fool not to say that we’re going for the league title. That’s our only natural progression from second place and we know to progress we need to finish first. That’s obviously the goal, we’ll always be striving for that every week no matter how far off it may get or may seem at any point - we’ll always be trying to win every game. But this time it will be good to do it from the outset as opposed to doing it halfway through, having to pick players up and having to change a lot in a short amount of time. So yeah I’m not gonna lie, we’re going to try and win as many games as we possibly can and if that gets us a league title I’ll be delighted come May!"

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First Posted ~ 18:26 Mon 10 Jul 2017
News ID ~ 7503
Last Updated ~ 19:19 Mon 10 Jul 2017