Manager Sam Winch is relishing a first home game in charge of the Belles on Sunday, with Leeds United visiting the Iqbal Poultry Stadium, and says his squad are primed to reward the supporters who are coming out to watch them.
Alongside head coach Alexandre Brito Nogueira, former Nottingham Forest boss Winch joined Club Doncaster back in July. The pair have so far seen their side pick up an opening day win on the road at FC United of Manchester, before exiting the FA Women’s National League Cup last weekend at the hands of higher-tier opposition in Wolverhampton Wanderers.
With both of those encounters on the road, the 39-year-old says he and the side are raring to go in front of their home fans.
He said: “Everyone’s been very welcoming to myself and Alex, we’ve been really impressed with all of the support we’ve had whether that’s from the fans or from within. On the pitch, we’ve had two competitive games, there’s no better way to analyse your players’ personalities and characters than a huge win and what unfortunately was an even bigger defeat.
“Humility is one of our traits, and we’ve had to be humble in victory but even more humble in defeat. We’ll see how we react from that come Sunday, I’ve seen it in training, it’s been fantastic how they’ve come back.
“It’s extremely exciting to welcome the fans. I understand we’ve already sold a huge amount of tickets, but we want to make sure that this isn’t a one-off in terms of numbers. We want to make sure we show them a brand of football that is inviting for all.
“We want to be attack-minded, play with aggression and at a high intensity. We’ve got to make sure that we do all of that with intelligence too, because it’s alright just showing those things, it’s got to win us games of football. We want the fans to leave happy, and come back. We’ve got to make sure we have the winning mentality.”
The growth in the women’s game over the last few years is something that’s been well documented, with the Lionesses recording a huge 20-0 win over Latvia at the Eco-Power Stadium back in November 2021 before going on to lift the European Championships the following summer.
More recently, Sarina Wiegman’s side finished as runners-up at the World Cup in Australia, narrowly losing out to Spain in the final of the competition. Former Belles aces Mary Earps and Millie Bright played key roles in that run to the final, and Winch wants his current group to harness that as motivation moving forward.
The boss added: “There’s no better time to get involved in the women’s game than right now. Being involved as a volunteer, supporter, coach, player, however that looks. As a young girl wanting to be the next Beth Mead or the next Lucy Bronze, whoever it is, it’s a fantastic time to get involved.
“We are so proud of the history of this football club, and I’m so proud to be the manager of it. It’s seen so many of our players go on to represent our country, and other countries too. It’s even more reason for fans to come down and see exactly what the Belles are all about.
“The history of this football club and the way the players play for the badge is something the players really do understand. They’re in the fortunate position of pulling on the shirt and representing this club, wearing the badge. We’ll make sure they always play with that pride, and we hope that rubs off onto the fans.
“We’ve got a squad full of energy, a lot of speed in various areas of the pitch, and we’ve got a lot of tenacity and aggression. We have players that want to play football, and it’s my job now to gel all of that together to make it consistently work.
“If we apply ourselves as we have done in training, then I expect that to play a key role in exciting the fans. They’ll react to what they see, and I want us to be on the front foot from the very first minute.
“That way, we don’t just get the numbers coming to see us as a one-off, we get the supporters coming back on what we hope to be a weekly basis. It’s even better if the numbers increase, but it’s our job to make them come back.”
Don't forget, to celebrate our proud history and in honour of our year of formation, 1969, adult season tickets will be reduced to just £19.69, that’s just £1.79 per game, find out more HERE.