Charlton Athletic Football Club Women
Mishra's thoughts ahead of Sunday's League kick-off
Mishra's thoughts ahead of Sunday's League kick-off
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 8:58AM UTC, Tuesday, 15 August 2017
The Charlton women’s team begin the 2017/18 season with the visit of Lewes Ladies to Sporting Club Thamesmead on Sunday at 2pm, with entry free for Charlton season ticket holders and general admission priced at £4 for adults and £2 for concessions.
Quote by: Riteesh Mishra“We’re bringing players in who are going to be pushing everyone. I feel we’ve got a healthy level of competition, people are going to have to fight for places which is what squads should be.Quote by: Riteesh Mishra
Riteesh Mishra

Asked to assess the forthcoming campaign, head coach Mishra says his and his side’s attention is fully focused on getting off to a flying start against Lewes at the weekend.


“Our focus since the fixtures came out has been 20 August,” he said, “if we get three points and play well it sets us up nicely for the next couple of games.


“It’s good to get Thamesmead early; I think the surface will be decent and it’s always nice to get a win and a performance there.


“Everyone’s aware Lewes have invested heavily in their squad and their club so it’s going to be a really tough test – I don’t see any easy tests this year. Everyone comes to Charlton and raises their game so we’ve got to be ready for that.”


It’s been an off-season of change in south-east London, with a number of high-profile players joining. Former Oxford captain Kat Nutman and prolific ex-Brighton striker Charlotte Gurr are the headline additions, while former Brighton manager James Marrs has also come on board as first team coach.


Nutman has been playing FA Women’s Super League (FAWSL) 2 football for the past three seasons, while Marrs and Gurr won the FAWPL South two years ago – so there’s plenty of pedigree and experience in the squad now.


Both Gurr and Nutman believe the squad they have joined is good enough to compete in the FAWSL. That’s a view Mishra agrees with but, with winning the title having been a well-talked up ambition in previous seasons, he is keen to take the pressure off his side this time around.


“You look at last year, the stats don’t lie – we finished fourth so we’re the fourth best team in the league,” he explained.


“I know people outside the club are going to be saying ‘Charlton should be challenging for the league’; we should. But the last three or four years, everyone around and inside the club have been saying Charlton are going to win the league and that’s not quite happened.


“That’s not my objective; my objective is to be better than we were last year. That’s in all cup competitions and the league. First and foremost, we need prepare properly for each game and take every game as it comes.”


That said, he adds “you’ve always got to build for the next level up” and reckons Marrs will help on that front. The former Gillingham, Brighton and West Ham United boss has “a mentality of winning” and has added a lot to the squad already.


“We’re really pleased that James has come on board. Bringing people like James in is only helping us. Things are working well – he’s enjoying it, the girls are enjoying it and there’s a level of intensity to everybody’s work now.”


The new signings provide the gaffer with a selection headache ahead of Sunday and it’s one that he welcomes. The likes of Gurr, Nutman, Ellie Dorey, Chloe Brunton-Wilde, Katie Startup and Emma Sherwood “are not coming just to be squad players”, he notes.


“We’re bringing players in who are going to be pushing everyone. I feel we’ve got a healthy level of competition, people are going to have to fight for places which is what squads should be.


“At the end of last year we fell short and I think a lot of that was because of the fact that we did lack options. We had a lot of players paying a lot of games consistently and towards the end of the season it did take its toll.


“It’s a different scenario from last year, but I’d always rather have more options and it allows us to change things in a game [and pick] specific players for specific games. It’s going to be down to me and my staff how we manage that and make sure people are here and still happy if they’re not getting as much game time as they would like.”

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