Doncaster Rovers Belles' promotion hopes boosted by Wolves' upward movement
Doncaster Rovers Belles’ promotion hopes have received a welcome boost with the news that Wolverhampton Wanderers have been moved up a division.
Wolves were successful in their application for upward movement and will compete in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division, the third tier of the women’s game, next season.
The Midlands club had been runaway leaders of FAWNL Division One Midlands for the previous two seasons only for both campaigns to be cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Doncaster were second in the table behind Wolves when the 2020/21 season was cancelled in January so the FA’s reorganisation greatly improves Belles’ chances of securing the one automatic promotion place available next term.
Belles, meanwhile, have confirmed they will remain in DIvision One Midlands next season rather than switching to Division One North.
There had been a feeling within the club that playing in the North section would help attract more players and reduce travel.
But that has now been tempered by Wolves’ elevation and also the knowledge Belles possess on teams in the Midlands section, with the hope the club can launch a sustained promotion bid next term under the guidance of returning head coach Andy Butler.
Belles chief executive Russ Green told the club’s official website: “I’d like to congratulate everyone at Wolves, we’d have loved to have made them work for it on the pitch but their record over the past two seasons speaks for itself and they’ve undoubtedly been the standout team in our division.
"Having movement between divisions is vital for the pyramid, and we also welcome Peterborough United and Leek Town to what we are sure will be a competitive league.”
The 2021/22 fixtures are set to be confirmed by mid-June.
Belles won the FAWSL2 title in 2018 but were then forced to withdraw from the newly-named FA Women’s Championship for financial reasons.
They were relegated from the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division a year later and initially struggled in the fourth tier but, following Butler’s appointment in January 2020, began to move in the right direction again.