Since last season, we have undergone a major redevelopment within our squad with only a handful of players remaining from the 2023 team.

The positive for me is the right attitude and mentality that these remaining and new players have. That on top of their ability and passion for the club is the core that I wanted us to build upon going forward.

We have been mindful of this during the recruitment process and it has been great to add more like minded players with the right level of ability and a mix of youth and experience, despite having a young squad.

We have also recruited a new coaching team. Jamie came on board and has been a real enabler and sounding board and most important, a great coach. Tom came on board to enable us to support player development in training even further and as part of the girls academy is a great link from the academy to the senior team. Most recently Danny has joined the team and specialising on the GK’s will be an invaluable resource for the senior team and hopefully the girl’s academy as well.

In order to begin thinking about the season we played 3 x 30 minute training games against Valley Rangers who are a team on the rise. We played different formations, tried several players in a number of positions and used those 3 games as fact finding to help us see what shape and positions players were best suited to so we could approach our friendlies with a firm idea of the way forward.

Played in a gale and having two matches into the wind we lost 2-1, 1-0 and drew 0-0. This was encouraging as the girls had never played together and we learned a lot.
We played Holywood and won 4-0 in our first friendly. We played Moneyslane in our 2nd and won 6-2. Our 3rd and final friendly saw us take on Belfast Ravens II and despite missing 5 of our starting 11 we won 2-1.

There is still plenty of room for new players with the right attitude and ability to join what we are building. The summer league is always difficult as exams can play havoc with availability, as can summer holidays. Even without those to contend with we still need players, so the next few weeks are important. It is exciting times at Portadown FC Ladies and I am so pleased to be a part of it and to be surrounded by so many good players and coaches as well as a committee who are very supportive and active in helping.

In terms of our hopes for the season, we are aiming to maintain our position in division 3 and push as much as we can to contend for promotion. We play a few of the teams we think will be trying to win the league, or be promoted, in our first 3 fixtures. This could be a difficult start but as we finish recruiting and get more familiar playing together, I do believe we will get stronger as the season progresses. We have been able to link up with Bournview Mill and Pepperton Park will be our home ground for the season.They have been so supportive and welcoming, and we will enjoy playing there. We have also been given permission to play 1 home match at Shamrock Park on Wednesday 8th May V Maiden City Swifts, before works begin on the pitch over the summer.

Our season starts this Wednesday night away to Lisbellaw and if you keep an eye on our social media channels, we would love to see you down at one of our home matches, cheering on your ladies team.

Norman Allen, Ladies Team Manager.