Doncaster Belles: We’ve a score to settle with Millwall, says Staniforth
It’s time to make amends.
At least that is the message Belles boss Gordon Staniforth is sending out to his players.
For the Belles return to FAWSL2 action this weekend when they welcome Millwall Lionesses to the Keepmoat Stadium.
The South East London outfit were one of the teams where Staniforth and his players were left frustrated and felt their season left the tracks momentarily following a 0-0 draw in June.
That stalemate coupled with a goalless encounter at Durham in August are two results that stick in the mind of Staniforth as Sunderland capitalised on the dropped points.
It’s been a season where league leaders Sunderland have rarely faultered, boasting no defeats in 14 games.
But as Doncaster prepare to get back onto the field - following an enforced break last weekend due to international call-ups - Staniforth says this Saturday’s clash with Millwall is the time to ‘make amends’.
“With Millwall, we owe them one,” said the former Plymouth Argyle striker.
“We came away from Millwall with a 0-0 draw feeling very frustrated.
“We created lots of chances in the game which we didn’t convert, that was the most frustrating thing.
“But we have the chance to make amends on Saturday night and the players certainly want to do that.
“I believe we’re a better team now than we were when we first played Millwall.”
The Belles should have been playing fellow Division Two outfit Yeovil Town last Sunday.
However, Town had a handful of call-ups to the Wales squad which forced the fixture to be cancelled and re-arranged for October 19.
Being without a game since their 3-1 victory at Watford on September 7, the Belles have been hard at work on the training ground as they bid to keep the pressure on Sunderland who have moved eight points clear at the top of the FAWSL2 table.
“We tried to get some friendlies in during the break but it was too last minute and so we just worked hard on the training field,” said Staniforth.
“I’ve been very pleased with what I have seen in training.
“The team have looked strong and they’ll be ready for Saturday’s game, they’re relishing the chance to get back on the Keepmoat pitch.
“If the game had gone ahead against Yeovil, we would have been without Jess Sigsworth and Ashleigh Mills who are two important players for us.
“Jess has been suffering from a calf problem so this break has given her the time to recover.
“Ash has been on England camp duty so she would have been missing for last Sunday’s game too.
“We’ve also got Sophie Stamp back with us so, come Millwall, I’ll be looking at having a fully fit squad.
“The competition for places is brilliant at the moment, we’re in a very strong position.”
He went on: “We’ve got five games left to play so our target is to get 15 points and that starts with a good performance against Millwall.”