New recruit Smith excited by Belles challenge

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DONCASTER Rovers Belles underlined their 2012 FA Women’s Super League ambitions yesterday by signing England winger Sue Smith on a one-year deal.

“I’m delighted to be joining the Belles,” said the 32 year-old who boasts 90 England caps. “It’s a fresh start and a new challenge and I can’t wait for the season to start.

“I like the set-up at Doncaster and when I met with manager John Buckley and his No 2 Paul Green, everything seemed spot on and so professional. Belles were also always a club I wanted to play for before I finished playing and now that I’m here I want to try win something with them.

“They might not have been as successful in recent years as they were in the past, but they are still a big name and if you stopped and asked someone in the street to name a women’s football club they’d always say Doncaster Belles.”

Smith played for Lincoln Ladies in their WSL win over the Belles at the Keepmoat Stadium last season and says the attraction of playing there regularly was a big influence on her decision to link up with the South Yorkshire club, who finished second bottom in the eight-team league,

“Playing every home game at the Keepmoat Stadium was a massive factor for me coming here,” she told The Star, “It’s a great stadium and if you can’t play on a pitch like that then you can’t play on anything.”

Working with former Leeds, Rovers and Rotherham winger Buckley, was also an important consideration for Smith, who spent eight successful years with Leeds prior to joining the Imps last year.

“He’s not only a good football manager but he’s a really nice man as well,” said Smith. “With him being a former winger he’ll hopefully be able to give me a few pointers which will help my game.”

Smith, who suffered a rib injury earlier in the season, missed out on England’s World Cup campaign in Germany last summer, but has been called up for Hope Powell’s training squad early next year.