Doncaster Belles: Business as usual in family reunion

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This weekend’s friendly might see Gordon Staniforth reunited with daughter Lucy on the football field, but the Doncaster Rovers Belles chief insists there will be no room for family niceties, writes Hayley Paterson.

The Belles will line-up against current Women’s Super League champions Liverpool Ladies in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.

And, having signed for the Reds this year, Lucy Staniforth is expected to play some part in the friendly with Doncaster following her recovery from a career-threatening knee injury.

But Belles boss Gordon insists it will be business as usual despite the family ties.

“It will be great to see her but we’re not going to be discussing tactics or giving each other digs, it won’t be like that,” he said.

“It will be purely professional. We won’t speak before the game because we’ll both be focused on our jobs in hand but we’ll speak afterwards.”

Last year the Belles shipped 12 goals in three games against Matt Beard’s champions - one being a devastating 9-0 league loss - however, Staniforth is keen to look ahead.

“I’m not a person who likes to look too much into the past,” said the ex-Plymouth striker.

“Saturday will be a different game to past matches, it’s a chance for us to see where we are as a squad now and to compete against the top side in the country.

“With Liverpool getting in touch and asking for a friendly, it’s testament to how well regarded the Belles are and we will give them a good game.

“We’ve also got Everton booked in for April 6 and Chelsea have been in touch asking for a friendly.”

Sat: Liverpool v Belles, Select Security Stadium, 6.30pm.

n Belles will start the new FAWSL2 season on April 16 at Aston Villa - whom they beat 2-0 in this month’s FA Women’s Cup third round.

Oxford United are the first visitors to the Keepmoat Stadium on April 19.

n Belles are expected to announce the signings of Nottingham Forest midfielder Reanne Thomas and Leeds United goalkeeper Shannon McCarney.

Goalkeeper Emma Higgins, meanwhile, has left the club and returned to Ireland. Visit www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk for more.

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