Coming Home – A Captain’s Tale: Part Two

The first half of Lyndsey Harkin’s football career would see her represent her hometown club, her country, and spend five years in Yorkshire with the Doncaster Belles.

Then, in late 2015, she came home to rule, and it wouldn’t be too long before she’d do so with the captain’s band either.

“It was easy to come back home,” explained Lyndsey with a smile, and now a married mother of two, happy, yet cheeky boys.

“There were some players still here from my first spell, including Annabel McKechnie, who’s a really good friend of mine.

“We’ve known each other since we were kids.”

That second debut, the comeback of Lyndsey Harkin, came on Valentine’s Day 2016, a 2-0 victory over Fylde; the second spell was up-and-running.

Able to boast seniority, and experience, it wouldn’t be too long before Lyndsey would be granted the captain’s band, first in the odd game when being vice-captain, hen outright herself.

However, she knows that she wouldn’t be in the position she is without the support of others around her.

“It was so good being able to come back home,” she said, that smile continuous.

“That and we continue to get better with each passing year; when I returned I wore the captain’s band a few times then I had to take time off to have our second son (Connor).

“When I came back I was made vice-captain towards the back end of the season before last and, then, when Andy (Cook) came in as Head Coach, I was afforded the captaincy.

“We’ve a lot of leaders out there though, not just myself, and I’m grateful for that.”

Now though, the challenges presenting themselves are so very different to what Lyndsey and the Forest Women are used to.

This year has been torn apart by the presence of a global pandemic, one which curtailed last season (Forest finishing third on the points-per-game ruling) with a few months still to play, and, already this time certain areas of the sporting world have been brought to a standstill.

The aim for Lyndsey and company however remains the same, promotion, and, with a strong sense of togetherness and camaraderie, on and off the playing field, they’ll keep fighting until they achieve their objective.

“We’ve started this season really well and you can tell there’s a great togetherness about the squad,” continued Lyndsey.

“That first lockdown (which finished last season early) saw a lot of us busy with home-schooling.

“I’ve got the two boys now, Rueben (9) and Connor (2), and they certainly kept us very busy, but they’re good kids really.

“Hats off to the teachers though, Rueben, my eldest, he tried his best but I’m no teacher myself so you can guess how that went.

“Football-wise though, I was fortunate to be able to do 1-to-1 sessions, and some general fitness, to keep myself active; it’s what we had to do, just keep ourselves active, and ready to go.

“Marcus (NFWFC Performance Coach) not only tailored to suit our needs, but also set up zoom workouts, games, quizzes, fancy dress as well.”

Prior to the current, second lockdown, NFWFC had begun the campaign reasonably well, leading the table for some part, whilst also collecting victories over the likes of Derby County (2-0) and Loughborough (7-0) – but their biggest games, we;; they’re happening in the group chat.

“We genuinely like, and miss each other, so the group chat has kept us strong and together,” insisted Lyndsey.

“There’s a great togetherness at the club and that’s most certainly been strengthened during the two lockdowns.

“We’ve played games, had quizzes, and we even have a rock-paper-scissors tournament which is in its second season,” she laughs. “Aja (goalkeeper Aja Aguirre) is leading the table at present, but my son Rueben, he’s also getting himself involved as well, its’ a fun, team-building exercise.”

As for the return, for a second time this year, to football, expected to be some point in early to mid-December, Forest Women will also have the distraction of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup to look forward to.

“Our aim, more this season, is promotion, and we have a good chance of doing so,” concludes Lyndsey.

“Granted this is a tough league where anything can happen in any game, so we have to focus and take each of our games as they come and push on from there.

“As for the FA Cup, that’s a good distraction as we can test ourselves against other clubs from others leagues, and let’s hope we do better than we did last season, then, who knows what’ll happen.”

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @Josh Dixon Lyndsey is enjoying herself captaining her hometown club.

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