Doncaster Belles: We’re in it to win it - Staniforth

Gordon Staniforth. Picture: Kevin Neagle

Gordon Staniforth. Picture: Kevin Neagle

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Gordon Staniforth remembers all too well the moment when he and his Plymouth Argyle team-mates were just one step away from an historic FA Cup final spot.

Lining up against Watford back in 1984, a solitary George Reilly header in the 12th minute saw Argyle crash out in the semi-final at Villa Park.

The Hornets went on to face Everton in the final as Toffees duo Graeme Sharp and Andy Gray - albeit in controversial circumstances - steered the Blues towards cup glory.

Thirty years on, former Pilgrims striker Staniforth will lead out his new team - Doncaster Rovers Belles - as the manager this time for their FA Women’s Cup third round tie at Aston Villa next month.

“I have fond memories of the FA Cup, we were so close to the final but it just wasn’t meant to be,” said the 56-year-old Belles chief.

“I’m a traditionalist at heart so when the FA Cup comes around, I can’t wait for it.

“Every cup matters to me and that is the case with the Belles players here, they want to win as much as possible.

“I firmly believe the Belles can win the FA Women’s Cup, we are good enough and have a great chance.

“The cup for me as a player was always massive. As a manager that hasn’t changed.

“Being drawn against Aston Villa, they’re not the easiest of teams but we’ll be ready for the challenge. Everyone cannot wait for it all to get underway.

“Anything can happen in the cup, that’s the beauty of it.

“The Belles have a fantastic chance of silverware.”

Staniforth has been working around the clock to get into his new role since taking over the mantle from John Buckley towards the end of last year.

The York Centre of Excellence co-ordinator is firmly in the throes of his managerial role with Doncaster and this week saw his squad defeat York City 6-2 in a friendly.

“I’m delighted with what I have seen so far from the players and everyone at the club,” he said.

“We’re playing plenty of friendlies to get us prepared.

“These players have a fantastic attitude and I’ve been delighted with their application and determination.”