Maddy Cusack confident Neil Redfearn can take Sheffield United Women to FA Women’s Super League
Six months after their last competitive game, Sheffield United Women return to action on Sunday with a new head coach and half a dozen new signings.
If there is one constant, it is their desire to break into the FA Women’s Super League – that and the raft of players who have re-signed to see if they can accomplish that by bettering the runner-up position they managed in last season’s Championship.
Maddy Cusack was an integral part of that Blades team and hopes to figure prominently again, this time under the leadership of Neil Redfearn, who only last week succeeded Carla Ward as head coach. Ward took United’s Women’s team to a place they had never been before but her tenure ended in sudden fashion midway through pre-season.
She has ended up in the Super League as manager of Birmingham City Ladies. Under Redfearn – the former Leeds United, Rotherham United, Doncaster Rovers Belles and Liverpool Ladies head coach – Cusack is confident they can join her.
“We came close last season and the ambition this time is to go one better,” said the 24-year-old who signed a new contract in the summer just 18 months after joining from Leicester.
“It’s really exciting to have Neil on board. He’s been brilliant so far and a lot of girls who have worked with him previously speak very highly of him.
“He got going straight away, he really drives the intensity in training which is the kind of environment I thrive in.”
On Ward’s exit, Cusack added: “We weren’t really told much. United are really invested in the women’s team and are very forward thinking. All we have been focussing on is the things we can control.”
United have shown ambition in the transfer window, bringing in Mel Johnson from promoted Aston Villa, meaning alongside their own Katie Wilkinson they have the top two scorers from last year’s Championship.
“It’s been a strange old pre-season, a six-week run-in which is longer than we’ve ever had, but we’ve actually played fewer games,” said Cusack.
“We’ve never gone as long without playing a game, so we’re ready to go.
United start at London City Lionesses on Sunday before welcoming Leicester City to Chesterfield’s ProAct Stadium the following week.