Doncaster Rovers Belles have appointed Andy Butler as first-team manager.
Butler is no stranger to the Club Doncaster family having spent five seasons as a player with Doncaster Rovers, with the 36-year-old winning promotion to Sky Bet League One in 2017 and then helping the side reach the League One play-offs last season, before his move to Scunthorpe United in the summer.
Butler joined the Iron in May 2019, but has still remained around Club Doncaster, staying on as a Rovers academy coach, helping out with the under-14 side.
Belles chief executive Russ Green said: “I had a chat with Andy who said he’d love the opportunity, he’s a Doncaster lad who loves the club and has great standing as a coach already, he’ll be coming in to strengthen the team up and hopefully kick on for the rest of the season.
“I think it’s a great asset for us to have having a professional footballer and coach coming in to take over in a managerial capacity, he’s got great experience and hopefully that can come across to the girls.
“I believe they’ll really learn a lot from him, we have a few games coming up where we’re looking to keep getting results on the board and as we’ve said from day one, this has been a consolidation season for us and we want to build a squad to kick on with next year.”
Butler will take charge of training for the first time on Thursday evening before his first game as manager on Sunday when the Belles host Northern Premier Division side Huddersfield Town in the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA County Cup.
Green believes being able to hit the ground running will be a good opportunity for Butler to make his mark on the side over the next couple of weeks heading into the next league game.
He added: “We have some good players here who need galvanising over the next few weeks and I think Andy is the man to do that and bring the team together.
“Andy will come in and have the opportunity to assess the squad and then, after the game this weekend, we have two weeks to get some solid work in ready for the next league game, and then that gives him the opportunity to put a real stamp on things.”
Butler will be assisted by former Scarborough and Halifax Town goalkeeper Nick Buxton, bringing further knowledge of the professional game to the Belles.
Like Butler, Doncaster-born Buxton has also built up his coaching experience with the Rovers academy side, working with young goalkeepers in the youth set-up.
Dav Doone will step down as first-team assistant manager to give him sole focus on his role as RTC technical director as he helps to bring through the next crop of talent within the Belles’ ranks.
Green added: “We would like to place on record their thanks to Dav for his work with the first-team so far this season, he wanted to focus on the RTC and we believe that is the future of the club meaning he has one of the most important roles for us.”
Andy Butler’s first game in charge will be against Huddersfield Town Women on Sunday as the Belles host the Terriers in the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA County Cup at Oxford Street.
Tickets are available both from the Club Doncaster Box Office and on the gate at Rossington on Sunday and are priced at £3 for adults and £1 for 17 and under.