Our Ladies writer, Chris, has caught up with Haines over the ladies close season
Blues Ladies Development Side Update
While the first team enjoy their pre-season break over winter, the development squad are well into their 2014/15 season. The girls currently sit second in the FAWSL Development League Northern Division on 12 points from five games, winning 4 of their matches this season, which was the total number of victories the girls achieved last season, when they finished 7th. Liverpool sit top on maximum points from 6 matches, with Manchester City third, level on points behind Blues but having played one game more.
It is not only the Development League that Blues are fighting for success in, as they find themselves top of Group 3 in the FAWSL Development League Cup after three wins from three, including a 13-0 thrashing of Oxford United Ladies at the end of September. Only the group winners qualify for the semi-finals of this competition, with the best second placed side from the three groups making the last four stage. Last year`s winners Arsenal have made a strong start to their campaign this season, and it looks like their conveyor belt of young talent will be tough to beat again this time around.
We have interviewed attacking midfielder Coral Haines, and asked her a few questions about her views on the season, England duties and hopes for the future:
1. Firstly, how enjoyable is it for you to be back playing regular games?
I love it, I love playing football and at a good standard it`s amazing. I`m just starting to find form again too which makes it all the better. I`m playing alongside friends which makes it fun as well. We are gelling as a team and we are developing together and pulled out some good performances. The squad is really bright and young too so it makes it very enjoyable. Hopefully I find form within my physical aspects and keep improving in other aspects to push for first team action next WSL 1 season.
2. Blues sit second in the league, winning four out of their five league games. Confidence must be high in the group?
Like I said before we are gelling as a team and enjoy each other`s company (I hope – probably more off the pitch as I know I can be annoying on!) so I feel as though we are starting to work for each other to use the squad as stepping stones within our development. I think we all have belief we can compete for the league and all cups. I think we take every game as it comes and try to reflect the first team`s style of play and attitude which is always a high platform to live up to so we can never get ahead of ourselves.
3. Which team do you see causing Blues the most trouble this season?
I think that it is a strong, competitive league so it is always going to be difficult, but we played Man City this season and that has been our hardest game as they are a strong physical team who we struggled to score past, so they are going to be a challenge next time we play them. Also Liverpool are top of the league at the minute and had a very strong side last season so I think that they will also be a challenge. But I believe in the team and think we can strive for the best.
4. You`ve been back amongst the goals this season, along with Cheryl Edwards and Charlie Wellings, how pleasing is it to be part of a team with plenty of attacking threats?
It is a great feeling scoring as well as being an integral part of some of the goals with a few assists and I am very pleased that I have actually scored a few this season too. Also, we are looking very threatening up front this season, being creative in the final thirds and being clinical. It`s good to see that our shooting practices have made a massive impact as it reflects on our recent games` scores.
5. Following last season`s experiences with the first team squad, how determined are you to ensure that continues, and you become a regular member in match day squads?
After the past few seasons around the first team I`ve been given the most amazing insight into what it takes to be a WSL 1 footballer and it is a massive step up from reserves football. With my glimpses of game time in the first team I must admit it has been one of the best times of football so far, and I love every second of it. The manager has been helping me recently on what I need to do to make the step up which shows he has belief so with that I am feeling very determined to push for the step up.
6. Who in the current Development squad, along with yourself, do you see breaking through into the first team in the future?
It`s hard to say as at the minute as we are all working well as a team and don`t believe anyone has overpowered our team efforts and stood out massively, but there is some real talent within the development team from GK to striker. With Sophie Baggaley in goal I feel well protected and I believe she has a massive future, even outfield if she wanted to! Danae (Kalderidou) is very composed for a 16 year old, she is very relaxed on the ball and is reliable and anchors our midfield well so I believe she has potential too, as well as Abbey (Stringer). I`ve always rated Abbey since when I use to play against her when she played for Villa. She is a great player to play alongside too. I could list the whole midfield though as it is a tough fight to get in as there are the likes of Poppy (Jones) and Lia (Lewis) who have buckets of talent and bundles of potential to be in a first team environment. Finally, I enjoy playing with Charlie as she finishes almost anything I give to her, her goal record talks speaks volumes but she is a clinical striker who can grab goals for fun at development level, so I look forward to see her being tested at first team level.
7. You have flirted with the England U23 squads, after being a main feature of the U19 set up. Has this international experience taught you a lot and improved you as a player?
I`ve not been privileged enough yet to play amongst the u23`s although I`d be delighted to make that step up, but I have enjoyed playing international football a lot, I have gained a lot of experience playing with some amazing players and also against great players as well as learning from some of the best coaches/managers that are around. I have learnt how to be versatile which I feel is so important when playing at a high level as you always want to be playing and sometimes you cannot just have your preferred position, so being adaptable gives you more opportunities to play in games. This is just one of many things I have learnt since playing international football.
8. What do you think this Development group can achieve this year, in League and Cup activities?
I think this BCLFC team are a real bright group and we can achieve anything we put our minds to. I honestly believe the girls deserve some silverware this year as we have worked hard together. If we keep performing the way we are nothing goes to say we can`t achieve.
9. Finally, where can fans come down and support the team in home matches?
Holly fields in Erdington, it`s our very own Wembley! Plus their post-match wedges are my favourite so I enjoy it a lot!
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