Doncaster Belles: We’re ready to bounce straight back - Staniforth

Gordon Staniforth. Picture: Kevin Neagle
Gordon Staniforth. Picture: Kevin Neagle

Gordon Staniforth insists his side have the desire and hunger to bounce straight back to the top flight.

The Belles begin life in the newly-formed FAWSL2 next week after a much-criticised FA application process saw them ‘relegated’ after 22 years in the top division.

There have been a number of changes at the club following last season’s fateful campaign with former Plymouth Argyle striker Staniforth taking over the reins from long-serving boss John Buckley.

A new board has also been established, while Alan Smart recently resigned as Belles’ vice-chairman.

Belles begin their league campaign next Wednesday with a trip to Aston Villa LFC - a side they comfortably dispatched 2-0 in the FA Women’s Cup back in February.

And Staniforth is confident about his side’s ability to make an impact in FAWSL2.

“We’re going to be a force to be reckoned with,” said Staniforth, who was named as Belles’ new boss in November.

“I’ve seen a desire to bounce back from relegation and a hunger for success in the players.

“There is also a hunger to learn,” he added.

“One of my strengths is coaching and I’m throwing a lot of stuff at them and ultimately we will make the team better.”

Belles will be lining up in FAWSL2 alongside Durham, London Bees, Millwall Lionesses, Oxford United, Reading, Watford, Yeovil Town and last season’s Women’s Premier League champions Sunderland.

But before their league campaign begins, they will continue their quest for FA Women’s Cup glory when they travel to Birmingham City on Sunday for a difficult looking fifth round tie.

“I am pleased with the draw against Birmingham,” insisted Staniforth.

“They’re a FAWSL1 side and they will be a good test for us.

“It will be a really good chance to see just where we’re at.

“I have great respect for their manager David Parker,” he added.

“He’s come through the ranks and their side have been established for many years.

“It should be a fantastic opener.

“Then we have Aston Villa a few days later who we know a lot about having played them in the FA Women’s Cup third round.

“I just want to get going now.

“It’s been a long wait for us and we’re all really keen to get this season underway.”

The FAWSL campaign again includes a mid-season break, in June.