McDonagh looking forward to kick-off at Basildon
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 12:03AM BST, Thursday, 13 August 2015
The Charlton women’s team are aiming to make a flying start to the 2015/16 FA Women’s Premier League South season as they target six points from two tricky opening matches.
The Addicks begin a campaign they hope will end in promotion to the FA Women’s Super League with a trip to Canvey Island, where they will face newly promoted C&K Basildon.
That is followed up by an early title ‘six-pointer’ as Brighton & Hove Albion, who finished runners up in the FAWPL South last term to Charlton’s third place, travel to Sporting Club Thamesmead.
And first team coach Paul McDonagh believes his side have done all the preparation they need to hit the ground running, both on and off the pitch, and on the training ground.
He said: “We had a look at Basildon when they played Kent two or three weeks ago. I think they had a few players missing from what we hear but we’ve got an idea of what’s to come, some strengths and weaknesses.
“The players missing we don’t know what to expect because they’re a new side to the league, but we’ve done as much homework as we can and we’ll be in doing slightly less fitness this week and doing more on the [training] pitch.
“The players will be ready but it is vital that, in an ideal situation, we go in to games in with six points and that’s what we’re all looking for.
“We will have a meeting this week with that players and say ‘look, this is what the targets are. This is what we want you to do, this is what we want to do’ and make it really clear what we’re after, which is promotion.
“It’s great to have a good cup run but some of these players should be playing in the division above, definitely in my opinion so it’d be good to get them in there.”
It has been a fruitful pre-season for Charlton, who have brought McDonagh in to work with first team manager Jeremy Parsons as well as making a number of signings.
Youngsters Ellie Baxter, Darcy Wells and Georgia Pearch (from Chelsea and Brighton respectively) joined former England under 19 international Grace Seely and have bolstered a squad that ended last season with three trophies.
Their pre-season campaign, that included a run out against Champions League side Standard Liege, ended last weekend with a 3-0 win against Stoke City with what amounted to a weakened team and McDonagh has been pleased with the team’s work so far.
“Fitness-wise I would say our coaches have done a great job,” McDonagh added. “The players did look fitter than Stoke in the last 20 minutes, which is always a positive sign.
“That’s what you want to see: last game in before the season starts looking a little bit fitter than your opposition.
“In terms of attitude, good as well. The players are responding well to the information that we’re giving them, we scored a goal from the pieces we’ve been working on over the weekend so pleased with that.”