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The First team season is in full swing but for our development squad it has been a frustratingly long pre-season as they wait for news on when they can kick a ball in anger.

It has been a long and historic summer for women’s football and during this Period Needham Market have reshaped the club’s structure by changing last season’s reserve team into the development squad this season.

The change has allowed the club to focus more on player development with an emphasis on younger players being developed ready for first team action.

With the later start to the season the new emphasis has already been witnessed with players such as Poppy Nunn, Leilah Hansen, Emily Cockrill, Jordan Harvey and Charlotte Sayer already stepping up in the early weeks of the first team season due to injuries and missing key players.

For the club it is a triumph of the way they want to create a strong pathway, but it is not all about development – it is about winning too!

Megan Mills, another development player to have played in the first team said: “I think last season was a tough season, we were a very young team and needed experience as well as gelling as a team.

“This season is all about showing how much we have learnt and developed our football, hopefully we will get a lot more wins and follow in the first team footsteps with Promotion”.

With the first team now two levels above, the ceiling has now been elevated allowing the development squad a chance to gain promotion and move up the pyramid.

It was a midtable finish last season, and they will be hoping for better after seeing Sudbury elevate their reserve to the next level to continue to improve their first team – a position Needham want to replicate.

Captain Amy Trenter reaffirms those sentiments: “I think the aim for the team this year must be promotion to the Eastern Region, and a good run in the cups.

“Ultimately though, while of course we want to keep winning games and push for promotion, I want us to play our best football in the Needham way”.

Amy has been Skipper from the very start since a second team was created and has used her experience to help the younger players even though she knows she can also add things to her game.

She continued: “As captain of the team, my main aim is to set the right example for the younger players, I can act a bit of a coach to make sure players are comfortable in their roles.

“But the girls wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t mention that I would like to add more goals – as a CDM -goals are not usually my priority but if I can be more clinical it would help the team”.

The development team has seen a massive change with open trials held this summer to recruit some of the best talent in the county to make the team more competitive.

With the influx of new players comes a new coach with Alex Parry taking charge of his first full season after joining the club near the back end of last season.

He said: “We have a lot of new and a couple of returning players coming in with some already getting minutes in the first team, which is very encouraging for the club.

“Sometimes when you see so many new faces, it can take a while to gel, but I think we have had a good preseason and have depth in every position which means health competition and will drive the players to be better. I want us to play possession football and I feel we are more than capable so that they can play in a similar way to the first team making it an easier transition”.

The team start off at Home against Woodbridge after originally being handed a baptism of fire against Brett Vale - Last season’s champions - but due to the Queen’s sad passing all football was postponed.

Although that game will now be played later, the defending champions will still be the team to beat after success in the FA Cup against high opposition.

Megan concluded: “Brett Vale away unfortunately had the better of us last season – 6-1 and 2-1 defeats – but I think that experience and a good preseason and great new players I think we have a good chance to compete with them”.

Manager Alex added: “We are capable of giving anyone a game and that we are a team that should be competing at the top of this division”.

The first team continue to grow from strength to strength but now it is the time for the development squad to follow in their footsteps.

Goodluck to everyone associated with the development squad as they kick off their season this Sunday!




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