Andrew Gibson looks to have a daunting task on his hands after taking charge of Doncaster Hockey Club ladies’ first XI.
Gibson has been tasked with hoisting the Town Field side off the foot of the table and keeping their Conference North status alive.
He took over from long-serving Alan Stoves just day’s before the club’s final game of 2013 in late November – a 5-0 defeat at home to leaders Wakefield.
“The mid-season break came at the right time as it has given me the chance to strengthen the side,” said Gibson ahead of Saturday’s return to action against visiting Stourport.
Gibson – who has put his own playing career on hold – has brought in several players who he believes will strengthen the club’s squad including keeper Kaye Goulding, who has been playing in America, and Leeds striker Grace Holder.
Although Leeds play in a lower league than Doncaster, Holder has showed up well and Gibson feels that she is ready to step up in class.
“We’ve lacked a bit of firepower and pace up front and hopefully Grace will help in that respect,” he said.
“But it’s not just about that. We’ve been second-best in midfield for long periods in a lot of games and we’ve been conceding goals in bunches.
“We’ve been playing with a 16 year-old in goal and although she has done well we’ve lacked an experienced keeper to organise the defence.”
In addition to introducing some new tactics, Gibson now has the squad – reported to be in good spirits - training twice a week.
He has set the team a target of four wins from their remaining seven games which he feels could be good enough to at least give them a fighting chance of avoiding the drop.
“The last two against Kendal and Ben Rhydding are must-win games because they are down there with us,” he said.
“We’ve also targeted a win against Stourport, who beat us 5-0 at their place.
“They don’t have the X-factor, but they are very difficult to break down and don’t concede many goals so we’ll have to make the most of our chances.
“It would give the team a huge boost were we to beat them.”