Having been at the club for near six years now, Notts County Women’s Development team Head Coach, Thomas Hodges, knows a thing or two about the goings on at the club, and, after last seasons’ sixth place finish in Division One North, is ready to go again.
There has been some changes though, in the East Midlands Women’s Regional Football League, one which houses both senior teams for County, a slight structural change will see the Devs take to the field in September, in the new, Division One Central.
With that change, and after Arnold Eagles having been promoted to the Premier Division (they’ll oppose Adam Dunleavy’s County Seniors), the Devs will face new, and local opposition, in Mansfield Hosiery Mills Women, Nottingham Trent University Women, Sherwood Women, and West Bridgford Colts Women.
“We’re now well into pre-season training, and have some new faces on-board, including several of our Under 18s,” began the County coach, he also one who’ll be doing his UEFA B coaching licence over the coming season.
“The trails in which we have here covers both the seniors, and development side, so hopefully we’ll be well-placed for the new campaign next month.
“Last season, that was my first, full season with the Devs, the previous two having been scuppered by covid.
“It’s gone really well though, and I’ve settled quite comfortably, especially with the differing abilities we have at the club.
“I Just need to help develop players the best we can, and, if they move on, or are promoted to the seniors, then that’s something that happens.”
Alongside the support in which Thomas receives from his fellow coaches, and that from Devs captain, Heather Keith, there’ll certainly be a look at improving on last season.
“It was challenging, but a good challenge at that,” continued Thomas, after his side won four and drew seven of their sixteen league games.
“The girls though, they worked really hard, especially in training; they built up a lot of resilience as the season wore, and, even though we finished mid-table, it was more about how we developed as players, and as a team, and that came together rather well.”
In starting the new campaign, with a local affair, when home to one the leagues’ newcomers, Mansfield Hosiery Mills (Sunday 4 September), the Devs are excited about the change, and the challenges that come with it.
They’d also like to do something in the cups, any cup really, but whatever happens, happens.
”The biggest thing about the new season, it’s less travel, and that’s something we’ll all welcome with open arms,” added Thomas.
“Otherwise, we’ll just keep doing our thing and, if we pick up more goals, more wins, then that’s fantastic.
“I like seeing Devs players moving onto the first team, like Abbie Staples did, and that’s something we do, and like to see, so there’ll be no real changes.
“They’re hungry though, especially the younger ones, so I’d like to see us put together a good cup run, whilst aiming for the top four in the division.
“Whatever happens though, happens, we’ll just enjoy it.”
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NCFC_Women Thomas Hodges is looking for ‘more of the same’ this season coming.