Three wins and a draw from five, pre-season outings, a new Head Coach, and several new players, just about has Nottingham Forest Women ready for Sunday’s FA Women’s National League Premier North opener, at home to Stourbridge.
Sunday’s come-from-behind victory, away to Barclays Women’s Championship outfit, Sheffield United, saw the Reds unbeaten in their last four games going into the new season, is the perfect tonic for incoming boss, the vastly experienced Carly Davies.
A comfortable, 4-1 win away to Rugby Borough (formerly Coventry United) kick-started the Reds’ pre-season, following defeat at home to Southampton; a tight, 1-0 win against Sunderland soon followed, thn Birmingham were held to a 1-1 draw as Forest opposed higher opposition.
Several trialists have been involved, and scored as well – that most popular of families accounting for several of the Reds’ goals and, with the recent announcements of players staying at the club, including long-serving captain, Lyndsey Harkin, the club has added a few, new players to their ranks.
“….walking out with the Forest badge on your chest, it means a lot,” stated captain Harkin upon signing her contract with the club, she bidding to add to the incredible, 266 appearances, already to her name.
“Especially when you come out at the City Ground and things like that, seeing all the fans, and my own children as well – obviously they support Forest to, so, to see that it’s really good and, I don’t know, it feels amazing, every time.”
Having won the League and Cup double last time around, under the guidance of the now, Newcastle United coach, Andy Cook, the Reds, following Cook’s departure, brought in Dave Long (Head of Girls Academy) and Amber Wildgust (Women’s & Girls Manager), prior to announcing Davies.
Alongside that coaching trio the Reds also announced several, new signings, all with either Women’s Super League, or Championship-level experience with Holly Manders arriving from the north-east following spells at Durham, and more recently, Sunderland, and Mollie Green coming from Birmingham City after a spell on-loan at Rugby Borough (Coventry).
Freya Thomas, who played for the Reds previously (played nine times during the 2021-22 season) returns to the club after spells with Leicester City, and Rugby Borough, over the past half-dozen seasons, the Reds firmly shoring up their midfield, whilst at the back, Natalie Johnson arrives at the club following a season at Lewes, and boasts experience with both Rugby, and Sheffield United.
And then there’s Davies, an experienced individual who spent over two decades in the West Midlands playing for, and coaching, at Aston Villa, along with time spent as a coach in the England U19s pathway programme, and as West Bromwich Albion’s assistant manager.
“It’s an exciting time for the women’s side, the squad is in a good place and I’m looking forward to working with a talented group of players,” Davies told the club website.
“I want to develop a style of the play that the fans can really enjoy, whilst creating a culture at the club that everyone is proud of.”
Read Davies’ first thoughts, and that of Wildgust, here.
Carly Davies, Lyndsey Harkin et al, at Nottingham Forest, open the defence of their National League Premier North title, when they welcome Stourbridge, to Grange Park, Long Eaton, on Sunday 20 August (KO 14:00) – tickets available to purchase via here.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFCWomen the Reds in action against Sheffield United who they beat 2-1.