Do Doncaster Rovers Belles have enough goals in them to bounce back to FAWSL1?

Jess Sigsworth is expected to lead Belles attack this season.
Jess Sigsworth is expected to lead Belles attack this season.

Have Doncaster Rovers Belles got enough firepower to achieve their promotion goal?

That is the major question mark as Emma Coates’ side prepare to kick off the new FAWSL2 season at London Bees on Sunday.

The deadline day departure of star striker Courtney Sweetman-Kirk to Everton leaves some very big boots to fill at the top end of the pitch.

Responsibility for goals will fall heavily on the shoulders of local girl Jess Sigsworth, set to return to action following more than a year on the sidelines with cruciate knee ligament damage, and Scotland Under 19s forward Kirsty Hanson.

Belles netted just eight goals in 16 games when they were relegated from FAWSL1 last year, ending a sorry season with just one win and three points to their name.

After Notts County folded, Belles then applied to take their place in the top flight but the Football Association preferred Everton’s bid.

So, after a tumultuous year, Coates’ squad will be glad to get back on the pitch and attempt to emulate their promotion winning exploits of 2015.

However, FAWSL2, which now includes Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton, looks a lot more competitive on paper this time around.

“Pre-season has been good and we also had the Spring Series to be able to go through the different things we have wanted to go through and bond as a team,” said Doncaster defender Rhiannon Roberts.

“Thankfully we have kept most our squad and players are still full-time, so that can only benefit us in WSL2 this time.

“Everyone is back now stronger and ready to go in the league.”

Belles have signed former Leeds defender Sophie Bradley-Auckland and midfielder Chloe Peplow on loan from Birmingham City.

Goalkeeper Jules Draycott has arrived from Sheffield FC Ladies to replace the outgoing Nicola Hobbs.

Long serving midfielder Kasia Lipka has also left to join FAWLS1 outfit Sunderland.