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Belles

Who's who in Division One Midlands

11 August 2019

Doncaster Rovers Belles make their Women's National League Division One Midlands debut this season, so we look at the teams Zoey Shaw's side will face during the 2019/20 campaign.

Bedworth United had a steady debut season in the Division One Midlands last year, finishing midtable on a comfortable 34 points.

The 2017/18 West Midlands Premier Division title winners have been busy with their recruitment over the summer, with the likes of Chloe Quinn, Holly Webb and Jamie Edwards all putting pen to paper.

Ground: The Oval, Bedworth (CV12 8NN)

Birmingham & West Midlands have been in the FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands since 2015 following their West Midlands Premier Division title win. After a respectable sixth-placed finish in their first season in the division, they have consistently finished in the top half of the league.

They are managed by Marcus Webber who has spent time previously coaching at both Coventry United and the University of Birmingham.

Ground: Castle Vale Stadium, Birmingham (B35 7LQ)

Burton Albion Ladies will have a new manager in charge for the 2019/20 season as Lucy Jelf took full control of the club after a stint as interim manager at the end of the last campaign.

The Brewers have enjoyed plenty of success in recent years, winning four league titles on the bounce between 2014 and 2017. They finished ninth last season playing attractive football out from the back with players encouraged to get forward and wide when in possession while highly intensely pressing while out of possession.

Ground: The Lamb Ground, Tamworth (B77 1AA)

Leafield Athletic are one of three newcomers to Division One Midlands this season, alongside the Belles, following their West Midlands Premier Division title win last campaign. The Nuneaton-based club make the step up after a 12-year stay in tier four of women’s football.

They will be headed up by new manager John McCormack this season, replacing former gaffer Gary Barrell who departed the club over the summer.

Ground: Stockingford Pavilion, Nuneaton (CV10 8LT)

Leicester United were previously known as Leicester City Women Development, competing in East Midlands Women’s Regional Football League last season where they finished in first position, losing just twice all campaign.

Last season saw Leicester United earn promotion to Division One Midlands following their East Midlands Premier Division title success.

Ground: Riverside Pavilion, Leicester (LE3 2FW)

Lincoln City Ladies are headed by Richard Cooper – grandson of former Doncaster Rovers player Syd Bycroft. The Imps finished seventh in the division last season, albeit under their previous guise of Nettleham Ladies, with Lincoln City taking over the club over the summer.

As Nettleham, last season was their first back in Division One Midlands having won the East Midlands Premier Division in the 2017/18 campaign.

Ground: Ashby Avenue, Lincoln (LN6 0DY)

Long Eaton United will have a new management team in place this season, with former Derby County Ladies manager John Bennett taking charge at Grange Park.

He will be joined by former colleagues Kieron Wicks and Rich Green who worked under him at the Rams, and the management team will be looking to guide Long Eaton to a better position than sixth, where they have finished in the past two campaigns.

Ground: Grange Park, Long Eaton (NG10 2EF)

Solihull Moors will be aiming to finish better this season after narrowly escaping relegation by five points last term. They finished tenth, collecting six points through the season after two wins from 20 games.

Currently they are managed by Annie Zaidi, who was appointed in January 2019 after the departure of Ross Thorpe.

Ground: West Midlands Sports and Social Club, Birmingham (B13 0QY)

Sporting Khalsa were founded in 2004, beginning life in the Staffordshire County Women’s League.  They have swiftly risen through the leagues, winning three promotions to get them into Division One Midlands.

Last season Khalsa enjoyed a stable season, coming fourth in the division, finishing 21 points behind promoted side West Bromwich Albion, and under manager Chris Brown, they will be looking to improve their impressive record.

Ground: Aspray Arena, Willenhall (WV13 3BB)

The New Saints will be one of the Belles’ longest away days, clocking up a 244-mile round trip to the Welsh border. They have been in the division since 2016 following their West Midlands Premier Division title success, before going on to secure a sixth-placed finish in Division One Midlands the following year

Last term they finished in eighth position, collecting a total of 25 points through the season – comfortably keeping them away from the relegation battle.

Ground: Park Hall, Oswestry (SY11 4AS)

Wolverhampton Wanderers came second last year, narrowly missing out on promotion and they could pose the biggest threat to Belles as they contest for the title.

Wolves featured in the FA Women’s Premier League National Division as recently as 2016, and now led by manager Dan McNamara, they will be looking to get back to the third tier.

Ground: CKW Stadium, Wolverhampton (WV3 8NA)


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