With Farsley Celtic Women’s season currently on pause for the festive break, Niall Togher sat down with Jamie Sykes to discuss the first half of the season.
Niall Togher: Obviously, it’s been a great season for the team so far, but before the season started, what were the expectations that you put on your team, and have they defied these expectations?
Jamie Sykes: So when I started with Farsley I came in to coach the Women’s First Team, but soon after I started I realized there wasn’t going to be a first team.
I looked at what players played for the reserve team and did a few training sessions, and I knew we had enough talent within the squad to push for promotion.
I told the squad at the start of the season my aim was to win the league and we are definitely on track so far.
NT: You’re a perfect eight wins from eight games so far in the league, at this point is talk of going the season unbeaten a conversation being had between you and the players and is it something you view as important?
JS: With eight wins in the league, and four cup wins we still remain unbeaten, and there are only Burley Trojans left to play.
Looking at their results, they have dropped a few points so I am not too worried about them kicking on after Christmas.
I don’t think anyone will beat us so I aim to finish the season unbeaten.
NT: As well as being top of the league, your side has managed to score a massive number of goals, 119 I think it is, what’s the secret behind that and do you feel your style of play encourages high-scoring games?
JS: From the start of the season, we have set up in a very attacking style of play.
I noticed we were heavy on midfielders, so to accommodate them we play five across the middle.
My philosophy is to play out from the back but use the width of the pitch, especially at home, and get the ball forward and wide.
We work a lot on attacking styles of play in training as it’s our strength.
So I have found most of our games this season and we have played football in the oppositions half helping us to score more than usual teams.
NT: You’re back in cup action soon. What are the goals you have set for the team in the county cup and how far do you think they can go?
JS: My aim at the start of the season was to win the League and win the League Cup, and to compete in the County Cup.
I have great belief we can win the League Cup as we are now in the quarterfinals.
Straight after the break, we face Thackley away in the County Cup, who we played in pre-season and beat 6-1.
We have only got stronger with the players that have come in since the start so I am very optimistic we can win
NT: In the middle of this remarkable season you are still strengthening your squad. Talk to me about Demi and Kayley. What do they bring to the team and do you think this creates healthy competition for positions in your team?
JS: I am a firm believer that you should play for your position and with how we want to build the women’s section next year we need to bring new talent in.
For me, Demi had been our best signing with the number of goals she scores, and she doesn’t even play 90 minutes every week as we have such a big squad, so she gets on average 70 minutes a game.
Other signings that have made a difference have been Robyn, Vicky, Smurf, Lucy, and Demi Wisher.
All these players could and should be playing much higher so we have been very lucky to capture them.
Our latest signing was Kayley Hird. After the Athletico game, we sat and spoke about the game after going 2-0 in the first 10 minutes, and decided that we would need to look for another centre-half as Lydia Ford is our only recognized centre-half.
Kayley was the captain of the Huddersfield Town reserve team last season. She recently moved to Leeds United and then Bradford City, but after I had a conversation with Kayley she agreed to sign for Farsley.
Kayley has played at a good level and you can see that when she gets on the ball and from the first game she came in and was talking to the players around her from the off.
She also offers the ability to get the ball from the ‘keeper and play out from the back which is what we want.
We have also taken Ebony, Tegan, and Reya from the under-17’s last season and they have played a big part of the squad.
Reya has made some fantastic saves and also saved a penalty.
Keeping the players from last season like Rachel Dean, Kirsty Dwyer, Shannon Farmer, Lauren Rigby, Kath Raw, Lydia Ford, Leigh Bamford, Emma Ruiz, Isabel Wilks, Emily Warbrick and Jaz Jackson has been terrific.
The team spirit and togetherness is fantastic, we are all looking forward to getting back into action on the 8th January at Thackley.
Farsley Celtic Women are back in action on Sunday 8th January, when they travel to Thackley Ladies in the West Riding County Cup.