Belles fail to impress in Scottish friendly

New faces: Boss John Buckley with Aine O'Gorman, Kylla Sjoman and Maria Karlsson.      Picture: Steve Taylor
New faces: Boss John Buckley with Aine O'Gorman, Kylla Sjoman and Maria Karlsson. Picture: Steve Taylor
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DONCASTER Belles boss John Buckley will be looking for an improved showing in the Super League club’s pre-season warm-up against the English Colleges side tomorrow at Balby Carr (7.30).

Buckley was disappointed with Belles’ showing in their 2-0 defeat at Glasgow City at the weekend.

“They were a good side full of Scottish internationals and they deserved to beat us, but we under-achieved,” said Buckley.

Belles had gone into the game on the back of a 4-0 win over Premier Division Blackburn Rovers in their first warm-up game the previous week.

“That was probably a bit too easy for us and we probably needed a game like Glasgow,“ said Buckley.

“But we’ve got virtually a new team and it will take a bit of time to gell.”

Only five of last year’s squad remain at the club - long-serving Vicky Exley and Precious Hamilton among them.

Buckley has brought in players from as far afield as Sweden and Canada as well as from all over the country during the winter months.

The club kick off the inaugural Women’s Super League campaign at Lincoln City on April 14.

But they will travel to meet one of the other eight clubs which will make up the league, Chelsea, in the WFA Cup on March 13.“That will act as a barometer as to where we are at this moment in time,” said the long-serving Buckley, who played professionally for Doncaster Rovers, Rotherham United and Leeds United.

Although Buckley is confident that Belles will be competitive, he is setting the team a realistic target in view of the fact that the club currently look like having one of the smallest budgets in the league, if not the smallest,

Bristol Rovers recently announced a six-figure sponsorship package, whilst Belles are still looking around hoping to secure a shirt sponsorship deal.

“If we could get a shirt sponsorship of between £15,000 and £20,000 it would make a massive difference,” said Buckley, who would be pleased to hear from any interested parties.

Buckley has a maximum of three places left in his allotted 20-strong squad and would ideally like to bring in another striker and a right-back/centre-back ahead of the start of the campaign,

Belles will play all their league games at the Keepmoat Stadium and the club are initially targeting crowds of between 300-500.

The club are hoping to attract Doncaster Rovers’ fans - particularly those suffering withdrawal symptoms during the close season.

They plan to offer Rovers’ season ticket holders a £2 discount off the usual adult admission price of £6.

Buckley is also keen to attract families and says the club are looking to come up with a family friendly ticketing package.

Belles chairman Jonathan James will be outlining his hopes for the club’s future at the Belles Business Networker at the Finningley-based Ramada Hotel - one of the club’s main sponsors - tomorrow (6.30).

Buckley is also due to speak.