FOLLOWING the men’s first team’s victory over Ipswich Town yesterday, Burton Albion are back in action this afternoon as our women’s first team begin their new season!
The Brewers host Doncaster Rovers Belles at Hillsfield, Rocester FC (2pm kick-off) this afternoon in their opening game in the FAWNL Division One Midlands - which has seen its last two seasons curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Admission at Rocester is free for all Burton Albion Season Ticket holders, so make sure to head down this afternoon!
Albion’s pre-season campaign concluded with a defeat away at Loughborough Foxes, which followed a victory at home to Sutton Coldfield Town.
For joint managers Tommy Booth and Kristian Gilbert, who have only taken charge of a small handful of competitive games despite being in charge of the Brewers for almost a year, the new season is what all those months of work has been geared towards.
And with several new players joining the Brewers, including some that Booth and Gilbert have worked with before, Booth says those new faces have complemented the existing Albion squad well.
“There’s a lot of emotions going on - excitement, relief is another and a bit nervous!” said Booth.
“This is the point where a lot of the questions get answered - whether it’s the shape, are we fit enough? It will also bring as many questions about how we can improve as well.
“There’s relief in that we’re heading into a new season - taking over doing a season is a hard thing. We came in and last year we tried to finish as high as we could, now it’s a fresh start.
“It’s where we get tested as the coaching staff. Since we’ve come in, it’s all been geared towards this.
“Pre-season has been good. I think as a coaching staff we’re always striving to help improve the team, so we’re not sitting here thinking we’re done. It’s been frustrating trying to bring people in and we know there’s a lot of scope to improve.
“But we have improved - we’ve got a very good core squad and we want to make a few improvements if we can.
“We’ve got to know a lot of the other players as well. It’s been a strange pre-season but the players we’ve brought in have complemented the good quality players that we inherited.”
The Belles, managed by former Doncaster Rovers defender and caretaker manager Andy Butler, are likely to be considered among the favourites for promotion from Division One Midlands - the fourth tier of English football - this term.
And Booth says today’s game will provide an ideal first test for his side as they look to build again this term.
“In some ways it’s a perfect fixture for us because we’re the underdogs,” said Booth.
“It’ll be a nice test for the players and the coaching staff, against a manager who has managed at top-end men’s level.
“They are going to be one of the top teams so coming up against them will help us know how much we’ve improved.
“I also want to say a big thank you to every business that has committed to sponsoring our girls and women’s teams this year - we’ll be doing more on this down the line, but women’s football really does live off that support at this level, so thank you to you all.”