AHEAD OF THE SEASON
With the new season approaching, we caught up with new interim manager James Fishlock to see how he is settling into the role.
Fishlock is taking over from Fern Burrage-Male while she is on maternity leave, having left Cardiff City Ladies, Pontypridd has been a fitting challenge.
“I’ve settled in really well, the players, staff and committee have been so welcoming. I feel part of the team already and it’s been good to get to know some of the players and catch up with the players I already know,” said Fishlock.
Having been part of Cyncoed previously before the merge, James said the inclusivity and philosophy drew him in as well as the high standards of football.
“The desire to develop and improve was a strong selling point for me. The fact that the club are in the top women’s league in Wales was a big draw too as I still have a big desire to challenge myself as a coach and the opportunity to work with this group of players. To be a part of improving the standards and players was a huge attraction to me,” he said.
The team have been back in training for two weeks now, returning to USW Sport Park and when asked how the vibe was, he replied:
“The sessions have been good, the girls have worked really hard, asked good questions and the level of understanding has been really impressive. Fitness levels are improving and the quality on the ball has improved session on session. They are a close group; they all get on really well together and it’s clear that the team spirit is excellent.”
Pontypridd United finished 5th last season in the Genero Adran Premier league, taking home the Plate Conference shield. Despite gaining silverware, they are hungry to close the gap and earn a spot in the top four.
“We want to close the gap on the teams that finished above us last season of course and continue to develop the club both on and off the pitch,” said Fishlock reflecting on his goals for the season.
“My objectives are to be as well prepared as possible and to start the season well. We’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of us to do that but I’m confident we will be able to achieve that objective” He added.
The team have been working hard to recruit new talents as well as bringing players up from the U19s squad who are ready to progress to seniors.
The team are still open to any new players looking to join this fantastic set-up. Get in touch via email or social media.
“Recruitment is an area we want to be strong in, but we have to make sure that we bring the right players and staff in.”
“We want to make sure we add value on and off the pitch. I’m really happy that we’ve been able to add Olivia Francis to the playing group and we’re talking to a couple of other players at the moment.”
“More importantly, we’ve been able to retain the majority of the group from last season so there’s not going to be a huge turnover of players, which is a positive sign for us going forward.”
The team will continue to train hard and will play a series of pre-season friendlies to ensure they are at peak performance when the league gets underway in September.