Women Begin New Season With FA Cup Tie

Emily Stuart and Caitlin Bates, Hartlepool United Women

Pools Women’s Team will kick-off their new campaign on Sunday with a trip to face Carlisle United in the preliminary round of the Women’s FA Cup (2pm kick-off).

Jonathan Gibbon-Hayes has drafted in a number of new signings during the summer and put his squad through a rigorous pre-season in readiness for the big kick-off.

Pools will begin the season among the favourites for promotion from the North East Regional Women’s Football League Premier Division but it’s the FA Cup which dominates their thinking this weekend.

Carlisle currently play their football in Division One of the North West Regional Women’s Football League so will form tricky opposition for Pools as they look to make progress in the competition.

“It feels like it’s been the longest pre-season ever so I am glad to finally get started,” admitted Gibbon-Hayes.

“The FA Cup is a big competition for the players and for me personally so it’s a great honour to manage in such a prestigious competition so hopefully we can produce a strong performance.

“Carlisle will make sure it’s an extremely tough tie for us but I have belief in this squad and if they show the quality they have then we can win the game.

“It’s also exciting that we’ll have one or two players making their competitive debuts for us at the weekend so it would be brilliant for everyone if we could get off to a winning start.

“We’ve had a great summer bringing new signings in to the Club and we’ve put them through their paces in training and with games during pre-season.

“Myself, Andy and Ryan have also spent a few mornings up watching the First Team train too to aid our development and I would like to thank Craig Hignett and the players for allowing us the opportunity to do that.”

Gibbon-Hayes has a big squad to choose from but will be without Jenni Duffy-Smith, Faye Garside and Rebecca Smith, while Hannah Skull is unavailable after joining Pools on loan from Sunderland.

The tie will take place at Creighton Rugby Club in Carlisle where entry to all supporters is free.