Wilkinson Aims For The Stars

Marcus Wilkinson

“I came to Huddersfield Town Women with loads of performance analysis experience and now I want to earn my stripes and success in coaching – something this club will allow me to do.” 

Assistant Manager Marcus Wilkinson looks forward to a bright future, with previous stints at Leeds United and Manchester City as a performance analyst.

As Town Women signed off with the 3-2 FA Cup win over Liverpool Feds before lockdown, we caught up with Marcus Wilkinson to reflect on what’s its really like to be an assistant manager in one of the toughest leagues in women’s football. Working as gaffer Jordan Wimpenny’s right-hand man, Marcus finds himself in very good company as he has his eyes big things in the near future.

As soon as the interview begins, you could instantly tell he is very passionate about his role.

“Marcus first of all we are going to talk about your background and how you got into coaching,” I said.

His reply was very refreshing to hear,

“in order to do my coaching badges, I needed to do some hands-on coaching so I asked to go down to Huddersfield Town Women, thankfully they took me on, and I’ve never looked back since.”

Marcus has always been involved in football from university, since the age of around 18-19. He started out as a performance analyst at AFC Fylde, went on to become an academy analyst at Burnley, before his big break at working full time for the first team at Leeds United and the academy at Manchester City. 

He has continued to learn bits from everyone associated with football, but is aware how analysts are the hardest working members at clubs:

“Sometimes they are the most overlooked and their work often goes unnoticed as they are working behind the scenes.”

Marcus Wilkinson

After years as an analyst, 2020 was his breakthrough year in coaching as Town gave him his first taste of standing on the sidelines. The 26-year-old believes it was a long time coming.

“It’s been a new challenge for me and one I feel like I really embraced.”

Born in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, Marcus relishes the challenge of balancing his work and coaching duties and believes hard work is what is needed to get to the highest level.

“Commuting to Manchester every day and getting back to Huddersfield, getting up at 5am in the morning, and getting back to Manchester sometimes at 6pm in the evening. Tuesday and Thursday’s involves training and on the other days I have to plan the sessions. It can be a very hard slog but I manage to set aside enough time.”

Outside of coaching, Marcus works as part of a warehouse team for a clothing brand and admits

“it’s a totally different end to the spectrum to being out there on the grass and being a coach. I would love to work at the very top in the near future, in the Premier League,”

and believes working at the highest level day in day out is what dreams are made of.

When asked about his current inspiration, Marcus did not hesitate in mentioning Pep Guardiola

“The way he changed Barcelona and made them into the best team the world has ever seen, the way he works and how his methods come across on the pitch is fascinating. It’s amazing how fast-flowing his football is.”

He also looks up to David Wagner.

“The way he got everyone together and created an identity is very similar to what we want to do at Town Women.”

Having previously worked under the highly rated manager, he has seen how much Guardiola has had an impact at Manchester City, but knows his previous analyst roles were also a massive learning curve.

“Hopefully I have taken snippets from Guardiola and snippets from my time at Leeds United and can mould them into one. I see the game from a different experience – being at City showed me a way of playing and different ideas which I have shared with Jordan.”

Marcus Wilkinson

Speaking about his working relationship under manager Jordan Wimpenny, Marcus was high of praise.

“I have learnt a lot ever since Jordan came in last year. We clicked straight away and share similar ideas of what we want from individuals and the team. Jordan is always pushing me and demanding the best from me day in day in out and I demand the best from him.

He has put a great deal of trust in me which I’m thankful for and he listens to me regarding team selection. He’s very professional in the way he carries himself.”

Assistant Manager Marcus relives his relationship with Jordan before the Stoke game, which Town won 8-1.

We had a few disagreements on team selection and personnel and, in the end, he went with the ideas that I wanted to go with.”

As the conversation drew to an end, I went on to ask Marcus about what he does the night before a game.  

“I try and get a rest because I’m always up first thing in the morning excited for the match. I like to take it easy and try not to worry too much about the game. Sometimes you can overthink things and, when you overthink things, you overcomplicate everything.”

Marcus knows his role as an assistant manager is vital and the bright young prospect has dreams of taking the team to the highest level possible alongside Wimpenny and said he would enjoy working in the Women’s Super League one day. Here’s to hoping he achieves it in the Blue and White.

Marcus wishes everyone associated to the club

“a happy new year and beyond, and we look forward to seeing fans back at the Stafflex Arena very soon.”

Interview by Jack Walker

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MATCH REPORT – FA CUP – Away to Liverpool Feds

Mallin Brace Sees Town Women Victorious In FA Cup Thriller

HTWFC
Image credit :  Jess Hornby

Huddersfield Town Women progressed to the third round of this season’s Vitality Women’s FA Cup with a 3-2 win over Liverpool Feds.

Two impressive Kate Mallin finishes either side of an own-goal gave Town the win after extra-time and Assistant Manager Marcus Wilkinson was thrilled with the determination on show.

It wasn’t our best performance, but fair play to Liverpool Feds. They were top class today and caused us a lot of problems. We show resilience in every game and that’s what we’ve instilled this season.

We had to change our shape a few times to get through them, but we stuck at it and got two goals in extra time which we’re pleased with.

The Terriers went into their first match of 2021 on the back of an eight-game winning streak in the league – which sees them top the FA WNL table – and showed their quality on countless occasions as the run stretched to nine.

As usual, Town started the brighter side and went close early on when Laura Elford smashed the crossbar shortly after Mallin – who almost had a hattrick – hit her 25-yard free kick against the post.

The hosts were also threating, however, and it took a brilliant save from Lauren Joyce to deny Jodie Mortimer one-on-one to keep the game goalless before half time – this coming not long after a brilliant last-ditch goal line clearance from skipper Charley Evans midway through the first forty-five minutes.

Soon enough, though, the visitors took the lead.

Just after the break, brilliant work from Katie Nutter down the left flank saw her battle with and beat three defenders in the area before pulling the ball back on the angle of the six-yard box.

The no.7’s delivery was perfect for Mallin who didn’t need to break stride as she powerfully placed the ball beyond the despairing ‘keeper from yen yards out at the far post.

Image credit :  Jess Hornby

The game was the only FA Cup fixture of the weekend as all other ties were postponed due to Tier 4 restrictions and the 150 fans were treated to a brilliant contest on Merseyside as the home side drew level with fifteen minutes remaining when Paige Cole cut through the Terriers’ defence and fired over Joyce to level the scores.

Feds goalkeeper Rachel Darbyshire made a massive close-range stop force Town into extra time, but quality showed in the added thirty minutes.

Town won their umpteenth corner and Elford’s deft flick sent the wicked delivery onto the knee of Liverpool’s centre half who diverted the ball into her own net as the lead was reinstated.

That huge stroke of luck was no more than Town deserved and they could have been out of sight before the initial equaliser.

Missing chances is not something that Mallin does often and, when she was sent through on goal by Elford’s lofted pass, Town’s clinical winger dispatched the ball into the bottom corner in clinical style to seal passage to the third round.

The hosts did claw another goal back through Chantelle Thompson’s looped finish with six minutes to go, but it was too late in the day. Wilkinson knows the team deserved the win

We haven’t had a training session since our last game and to come to a place like this against underdogs who were in our faces straight away is always tough.

We changed our shape after the first 30 minutes to allow ourselves to play more and were physical enough to battle through, too.

All season, we’ve showed how good we are at coming from behind and never giving up. That’s why we are where we are [in the league]. We’ve fought for each other and got the job done again today and we couldn’t be happier.

The Terriers’ next two games against Loughborough Foxes and Derby County have been called off, with Tier 4 restrictions causing most teams in the FA WNL to postpone matches, but one thing is for sure. When Hull City visit the Stafflex Arena on the 27th, Town will be ready.

Report by: Jack Walker


POST-MATCH COMMENTS | Watch the full post-match interview now on #htwtv with @MarcusWilko94!

HIGHLIGHTS | Watch all the goals on #htwtv from our 5-goal thriler with @LiverpoolFeds in the @VitalityWFACup!

#htafc#htwfc#WomensFACup Fuelled by @santini7sports

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MATCH PREVIEW – Away to Liverpool Feds

Town Women Start 2021 With FA Cup Trip to Liverpool Feds.

Elford
Image credit : Jessica Hornby

Huddersfield Town Women begin 2021 on the road when they face Liverpool Feds in the Second Round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup this Sunday.

Town ended 2020 on an incredible eight-game winning streak which saw them open up a six-point gap at the top of the FA Women’s National League table.

Manager Jordan Wimpenny, though, knows that anything can happen in Cup football and so his team will be fully prepared for Sunday’s game.

We have to be consistent in every performance we have and ensure we approach each game with the same professionalism and desire to win.

Each game will throw up problems that as a group we must overcome and counter and this is something we will look to do again to progress into the next round.

With new Tier 4 restrictions recently announced, the Terriers’ next two league fixtures – against Loughborough and Derby County – have been postponed, meaning that Sunday’s match is the only fixture before Hull City visit the Stafflex Arena on January 27th.

Wimpenny, however, sees it as just another game.

We take each game, session or decision as it comes and as a group we have shown great character over this season so far so we will use this to continue our journey through the season.

K Nutter
Image credit : Jessica Hornby

As quality performances keep on being produced, the expectation and pressure on his group of players inevitably also continues to rise, but Wimpenny insists that his side will not be affected.

We have to allow the players to believe in how good they are, develop a winning culture and mentality with a clear ideology of how we play and who we are which will then carry the group to where they deserve to be.

Last year saw the Club play at the John Smith’s Stadium for the first time in its history in the fourth round of the competition and the Terriers went one better in the 2018/19 season – coming from 3-0 down to beat Charlton Athletic on penalties to set up a fifth-round tie with Women’s Super League outfit West Ham United.

Wimpenny knows that this season is a chance to make more incredible memories.

I want to give the players the best opportunity to progress as far as they can in this famous competition, with a mind on where we are currently in the league. With many fixtures called off we need to ensure that we still do our job come Sunday.

2020 saw the end to a season like no other and the start of one which just keeps on getting better and better. Here’s to hoping that Town can pick up from where they left off and make 2021 a year to remember for all the right reasons.

Preview by: Jack Walker

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MATCH REPORT – Home to Middlesbrough

Town Women End 2020 Six Points Clear

Mallin
Image credit :  Jess Hornby

Huddersfield Town Women beat Middlesbrough Women 3-2 at the Stafflex Arena to record their eighth consecutive victory and open up a six-point gap to second-place Fylde in the FA Women’s National League.

First half headers from Brittany Sanderson and Laura Elford – both from Sarah Danby assists – saw Town take control of their final game of 2020 before Sanderson added her second late on.

Shortly before Elford netting Town’s second, the ‘Boro ‘keeper had to be taken off with suspected concussion and, with no reserve goalkeeper on the bench, an outfield player took her place, making the second forty-five minutes a real chance for the Terriers’ to boost their goal difference.

Their opponents also hadn’t previously played after the second lockdown and had lost their star player to a European outfit, so everything seemed aligned for yet another Town win, but it wasn’t plain sailing when the visitors hit the left-hand post midway through the second half.

Katie Nutter drove down the left and nutmegged her defender before seeing a shot well saved, but the hosts were not to be deterred.

Sanderson – who scored Town’s third in the 4-2 win on Teesside earlier this season – was a constant threat and showed her quality again by blasting a free-kick into the top corner of the net to re-instate the two-goal cushion.

Sarah Danby
Image credit :  Jess Hornby

Assistant Manager Marcus Wilkinson was delighted with the performance

It was a hard-fought game and they caused us problems, but we came through it as a team again and that’s great to see.

With Fylde and Derby’s matches both postponed, the Terriers knew that they had the opportunity to show the rest of the league what they are all about – and boy did they do that.

Going into the match on a seven-game winning streak, Town were riding on a momentum wave and all thought they’d sealed the victory when Mallin found Laura Elford in the six-yard box, but a sensational save denied a fourth.

The away side then went down the other end to pull a consolation back from close range, but the job was done and Wilkinson was full of praise for the team.

To be six points clear is good obviously, but there’s still a long way to go.

We’ve been brilliant so far, so we’ll keep on doing what we do and see where we are at the end of the season.

So then, Town will spend Christmas at the top of the tree and all signs point to a very happy New Year, starting with the trip to Liverpool Feds in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup on January 3rd.

Report by: Jack Walker


POST-MATCH COMMENTS | Watch @MarcusWilko94 comments in full now on #htwtv following our 3-2 win against @BoroWomen. LINK

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MATCH PREVIEW – Home to Middlesbrough

Town Women Look To Make It A Great Eight Against Middlesbrough.

HTWFC
Image credit : Jessica Hornby

Huddersfield Town Women host Middlesbrough at the Stafflex Arena in their last game of 2020 on Sunday afternoon and will be looking to sign the year off in style by extending their winning streak to eight games in the FA Women’s National League.  

The Terriers are sitting pretty top of the table, with a three-point gap to second place Fylde, as both sides beat their opponents with the same scoreline last time out.

Town thumped Stoke City 8-1 courtesy of hattricks from Laura Elford and Sarah Danby, added to by Kate Mallin and Brittany Sanderson.

Sarah Dobby made her homecoming on West Yorkshire soil after signing as a player/coach last Friday, much to the delight of the Town faithful. The victory recorded Town’s biggest winning margin this season and manager Jordan Wimpenny was thrilled with their first post-lockdown and praised his players’ work ethic.  

Stoke are always tough to beat but we were able to show our quality on the pitch with fluid attacking football. Credit to the team, they were excellent all over the park.

I’ll be honest, it’s a great group to work with. They play for each other, they have a great desire to win and individually they are quality players, they gel together and are brilliant in their work.

Middlesbrough come into the game beating Loughborough Foxes 2-1 on the road in their last competitive game back on November 1st.

Their clash last weekend against West Brom Women was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, but the visitors will be looking to repeat their recent good form on the road when they make the 90-mile trip down to West Yorkshire.

The Terriers previous meeting against Middlesbrough was an impressive 4-2 win on Teesside at the start of October.

HTWFC
Image credit : Jessica Hornby

A brace by Kate Mallin and a goal a piece from Sarah Danby and Britt Sanderson made sure the three points were taken back to Yorkshire after Middlesbrough made a fist of the tie late in the second half, getting themselves on the scoresheet and pushing the Terriers right to the death.

Wimpenny knows how important it is for Town to continue their incredible form this weekend

Each game and each week we want to continuously build on our momentum so we can’t afford to take our foot of the gas, especially with the quality of the teams in the league. 

Goals for us are a result of our attacking fluidity and ability to showcase our quality going forward. The fact that we are scoring goals is very pleasing to see and to maintain our solid defensive structure allows us to be effective at both ends of the pitch

Last season’s top scorer, Lucy Sowerby, missed last weekend’s big win against Stoke with an ankle injury, but Wimpenny expects her to be fit to face Middlesbrough.

Lucy has been training this week and is expected to return for Sunday’s game, we must manage all players appropriately to ensure they are ready for when the games arrive.

We have gained a very strong winning mentality that requires us to never give up, play for each other and work hard for all three points which we will look to continue to do on Sunday against Middlesbrough.

Preview by: Raheil Mehboob

Come Watch Town
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MATCH REPORT – Home to Stoke City

Town Women Thump Stoke City To Return To Action In Style

HTWFC
Image credit :  Jess Hornby

Huddersfield Town Women made the best possible restart to the FA WNL campaign as they ruthlessly beat Stoke City 8-1 at the Stafflex Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Hattricks from Laura Elford and Sarah Danby were added to by strikes from Brittany Sanderson and Kate Mallin’s as Town made it seven wins in a row to stay top of the table. 

The Terriers’ big win was just as well because second-placed Fylde beat Sheffield FC by the same scoreline as the gap at the top stayed at three points.

Town started on the front foot, with Sarah Danby testing the keeper in the early stages from her dangerous left foot after firing the ball into the box from the left hand side. 

The much improved winger was at it again in the 15th minute with good link up play with Sanderson, only to blaze the ball over the bar.

The Terriers continued to push through Elford, who was on the end of a corner but headed the ball straight at the keeper. 

However, in the 21st minute, the prolific goalscorer opened the scoring – striking the ball across the goal and in off the right hand post. The ball was in the back in the net again moments later but was disallowed for an offside. 

Town weren’t to be discouraged though and continued to find a way to break down the Stoke defence and struck blood again a minute later after breaking furiously on the counter attack with Elford this time finding herself one on one with the keeper before slotting the ball home comfortably.

Sanderson poked in Town’s third with Mallin making it four in the 36nd minute after cutting open the Stoke defence and finding herself clean through. Danby couldn’t believe her luck as claimed Town’s fifth and then sixth courtesy of a deflection five minutes before half time with the visitors’ defence all at sea. 

Sarah Danby
Image credit :  Jess Hornby

The 6-1 scoreline was the biggest half time winning margin in the Club’s league history and manager Jordan Wimpenny was delighted with the way his team performed.

Stoke are always tough to beat but today we were able to show our quality on the pitch with fluid attacking football. Credit to the team, they were excellent today.

We’ve come back from lockdown and everyone’s attitude and fitness has been amazing. They’ve come back and kept that winning mentality which means we’re still in a great position in the league.

Stoke did hit back with a consolation in the first half, but it only got worse for the Potters when Elford bagged her hattrick in the 50th minute after Mallin’s square pass was put on a plate for the striker to finish from close range. 

Bethan Davies had a very good game, solid at the back with some comfortable saves of her own and Sarah Dobby make her homecoming at the Stafflex Arena after signing on as a player-coach on Friday – her first appearance since the 2018/19 season.

It was a bit surreal and to be back out there was amazing”, said Dobby in her post-match interview.

The girls were sharp, clinical and have quality all over the pitch so it was quite an honour to play in this team.

With her old teammate back on the pitch, Danby then put the icing on the to claim her hattrick in stoppage time to sink the visitors with a 5-star performance – the game being a great advert for attacking football.

Wimpenny was very happy at the full time whistle.

I’ll be honest, it’s a great group to work with. They play for each other, they have a great desire to win and individually they are quality players, they gel together and are fluid in their work.

We want to be consistent, we want to keep momentum and we won’t let our standards drop. We want to maintain this throughout the season and we know that, if we do, we’ll get the points to keep us at the top of the table.

Report by: Raheil Mehboob and Jack Walker


POST-MATCH COMMENTS | We speak to manager @JordanWimpenny1 on #htwtv following our 8-1 vicotry over @scfc_women.

POST-MATCH COMMENTS | We spoke to @LauraElford and @sarahdobby23 following our win today!

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MATCH PREVIEW – Home to Stoke City

Town Women Prepare For Restart Against Stoke.

Image credit : Jessica Hornby
Download HTWFC vs Stoke City Programme

Huddersfield Town Women welcome Stoke City to the Stafflex Arena as the FA Women’s National League campaign resumes at 2pm Sunday.

FA UPDATE! – 𝗙𝗔𝗡𝗦 𝗖𝗔𝗡 𝗡𝗢𝗪 𝗔𝗧𝗧𝗘𝗡𝗗 𝗧𝗛𝗜𝗦 𝗦𝗨𝗡𝗗𝗔𝗬!

The Terriers sit top of the table with 19 points from their first 8 matches.Manager Jordan Wimpenny is delighted with the start they made.

We want to continue to build on the current run of games we have had before lockdown and the players are ready to get going again.

Despite not winning the first two games of the season, Town have won six on the bounce since – including a 4-2 victory at Middlesbrough and a comfortable 3-0 triumph over last season’s runaway league leaders Sunderland.

The opening two games for us on reflection were games we could have taken more from” says Wimpenny. “But the team have continued to show a great sense of resilience and togetherness to help maintain their current form.

Sunday’s visitors are a notoriously tough opposition, but Town have enjoyed success against the Potters in recent years, most notably the FA Cup penalty shootout in 2019/20 and the last-gasp 4-3 win two seasons ago. Wimpenny expects another good game.

“One thing we have taken from the games so far is that we need to not concede as many goals even though performances in defense have improved from last season.

We have taken the time to analyse and assess all current performances and will look to try and stop Stoke again come the weekend.

I’m expecting the players to be ready and in themselves they will be. Stoke will no doubt pose problems but ones we will look to overcome.”

Image credit : Jessica Hornby

Defending has been something that has been an issue for Town historically, but not this season. With numerous summer signings such as goalkeeper Bethan Davies putting in impressive performances week in, week out, it is no mistake that the Terriers sit at the top of the tree – and Wimpenny wants to stay there.

Defensively, we have improved massively and we are showing great organisation, discipline and unity in our play. 

Bethan has also been called upon in many games that she has delivered with important saves in important moments to keep us in the game.

Since Wimpenny took over in March, his attacking style of play has been clear for all to see.

Personally, like to see my teams play fluid attacking football and with the ability of the players, this has allowed them to showcase their abilities. Wimpenny states.

A great sense of confidence and belief is instilled in the squad and fortunately they have delivered when they have been asked to through some really impressive team goals.

With emphasis on the whole team being involved in attacks, the change in philosophy at the Club has undoubted been a success so far. The entire squad is coming together to contribute towards what could turn out to be one of the most successful seasons in Town’s history.

Preview by: Jack Walker

Come Watch Town
  • £5 Adults, £3 Concessions, KIDS GO FREE!
  • Restrictions Apply and only 150 people MAX.
  • Only those who live in Kirklees are able to attend.

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Hannah Smith Leaves Town Women

Hannah Smith

Huddersfield Town Women can confirm that Hannah Smith has departed the Club with immediate effect, in the search of a new challenge.

A well-respected member of the first team, Smith featured heavily in the development squad in recent years before making the transition into manager Jordan Wimpenny’s side.

HTWFC Stoke 020820 12

She played a large part in the 2019/20 campaign and scored in the 12-0 win at Doncaster Belles, having made the step up into the first team only a few weeks earlier.

Wimpenny stated, 

“I want to take this opportunity to thank Hannah for all she’s done at the Club.

I wish her all the best for the future and she will be missed by everyone here.” 

Everyone at Town Women wishes Hannah success in her future endeavours.

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Sarah Danby – Her Journey So Far.

Town’s No.9 has had quite the career – and she’s not done yet!

“It’s always the opposition who shout ‘put her on her right’ for the last 15 years and I still can’t work out if my right foot is THAT bad or my left foot is actually half decent?!”

Sarah Danby

After the second lockdown of the year struck, another sand-still to Huddersfield Town Women’s season arrived, but Town winger Sarah Danby has other ideas and is ready to make this season memorable after her fine run of form in the opening eight games. Playing on the wing under fresh face Jordan Wimpenny, she has flourished and is a joy to watch – playing attractive attacking football under her new boss. 

When you conduct an interview digitally, you almost ask yourself if the passion will be the same compared to a face-to-face chat in real time. Sixty seconds into the chat with Sarah, it becomes crystal clear she’s very eager to get started on speaking about her football journey.

Danby started playing football at a young age, kicking a ball around the park in presence of her parents. Her father loved the beautiful game and this is where Danby formed her love for football as a child. Born in Houghton-Le-Spring, a small village between Durham and Sunderland in the North East, Danby spent hours kicking the ball off the wall with her friends.

“I grew up up North playing football which was in my blood from a very young age. Eventually, I went to primary school and started playing. I was the only girl in the team at the time but didn’t join a professional team in my early years.” 

Shortly after turning thirteen, she got her lucky break after playing regularly in a boys’ team and began to play for a local team, Lumley Ladies in Chester Le Street before being successful at trials for Sunderland’s centre of excellence. Training once a week, she was known for her hard work and dedication in her spare time, hoping to make her mark on football as a star in the near future. Danby always motivated she was one of a few who turned up to games with a vision:

“to be the best and impress the rest.”

Danby would go on to start an impressive journey in the football world, making her debut for Sunderland against Arsenal at just the age of 15. At the time, Sunderland played in the National Women’s Premier League, which was the top flight of women’s football, and featured in massive games – none bigger than the FA Cup Final against Arsenal in 2009. 

Sarah Danby

Having made lifelong memories, Town’s no.9 moved to Yorkshire to study in Leeds during her university life at eighteen before signing for Huddersfield soon after, changing her approach on the pitch by adding versatility to her game in one-on-one situations. Having had previous spells at Man City, Bradford, Leeds and Guiseley, she joined Town in the 2018/2019 season. 

Having played at the top of the women’s pyramid early on in her career, the 29-year-old was offered the opportunity to play in the Super League in her youth but wasn’t able to follow up the chance based on work commitments. But Danby continued to blossom in her mid 20’s and is aiming to work her way back up the ladder as she looks to enter the peak of her career.

The formidable winger admits she still has many more years left in her locker and promotion remains her number one aim.

“I would love to get promoted one day. That’s the team’s short-team goal this season.”

Town are currently in the Women’s National League and are looking to make it into the second tier for the first time in their history. 

“Huddersfield is my home and I have been here for three years now.”

Danby has always been a fan of the Terriers faithful since joining, but had a bone to pick with certain fans during our conversation.

“I’ve been hearing the opposition shout ‘put her on her right’ for the last fifteen years. I still can’t work out if my right foot is that bad or whether my left foot is actually half decent?”

She says jokingly. Danby will be looking to silence any critics by continuing her hot form on Huddersfield territory next month. A right-footed goal would be a perfect start to life after lockdown, both on and off the pitch. 

When asked about her current inspiration, she replied:

“Kevin De Bruyne, it has to be. He is the complete package right now.”

Danby a much improved winger for Town this season and is known for her lethal pace, facing up defenders and driving into dangerous areas with her strong left foot and says she’s the fittest she’s ever been. 

Outside of football, Danby has worked in the police for six years and has five years’ experience within the shift working industry. In that time, she’s had to take many days of annual leave and has struggled to train – often playing after 12-hour night shifts. In the past year, she has taken up a sociable role at work working as a Public Protection officer. The role has helped her lifestyle so she can train and play every week, thus balancing her duties. This has motivated her to get the best out of her football due to her commitments and Danby seemed pleased about her balance in a joyous tone.

Sarah Danby

“Now it’s easier to play and not have the burden of playing after an hour’s sleep.”

She believes she can now bring so much more to the game and is in a better position to do so, feeling much fitter and healthier in the process, which is why she feels she has been on the up as of late, in terms of her form and contributions in midfield. 

I was quick to agree as a journalist who has been looking on, seeing her development game by game. ‘I would definitely agree with that, when you break on the counter you look so dangerous’ I say and she laughed in agreement. But Sarah is adamant she has a long way to go as she still has to continuously apply herself in her work and fitness, especially in lockdown.  

Speaking about lockdown, Danby fears the worst. She felt like the first lockdown was beneficial as she was exercising every day and had plenty of free time in the summer.

“Now, the lockdown is detrimental. I come home late after 5 and tonight I went for a run in a pitch black street. Last time round it got me into good shape, but now it’s about maintaining that with the routine becoming more difficult to balance and repetitive.” 

Replacing ex-manager Ashley Vickers, gaffer Jordan Wimpenny now takes charge of the Terriers. Wimpenny joined the club in 2019 having worked as an Academy Coach at MK Dons and Stevenage FC respectively and Danby has been impressed with his breath of fresh air and the way he manages training from the word go.

“You can tell his approach is very professional. He knows the way he wants us to play and train. His methods and tactics are clear and you can see that in the recent results. 

In training we work on team shape and different formations and plans, depending on who we are playing of course and the opposition in hand. Training varies on many of these factors.”

As the conversation drew to an end, I asked Danby about the team’s recent form.

“If we go back to the first 2 games, it was new, we were playing whilst trying something new with new management. 

Hull away was the first game we won and that was a massive turning point.”

Danby went on to give us an insight on her personal contributions at the start of the season.

“I didn’t get 90 minutes in the first game and the second I didn’t start, which was a struggle.

I had so much to prove [against Hull] and that win cemented my position for the next game where I seized my opportunity. But when we played Sunderland, that was a complete performance and slick as you like. We looked like the complete package in that game for me.”   

She praised Jordan Wimpenny’s preparations, describing the manager’s tactics and his training regime as “spot on.”

Finally adding

“when we go forward as a team, we always look really dangerous on the attack. That comes from training, understanding from midfield to attacking units, Even building from the back. We always have more than one option, we aren’t just a one-dimensional team.”

Danby’s journey in a Huddersfield Town shirt continues. With much more to give under manager Wimpenny, the future looks bright for Town’s star winger. Let’s hope her left foot continues to do her wonders with the team on the rise in the league as we search for a first ever promotion to the second division.

Interview by Raheil Mehboob

HTWFC

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MATCH REPORT – DEVS – Away to Middlesbrough Reserves

Development Squad get back to winning ways against lacklustre Middlesbrough.

HTWFC vs Middlesbrough - 01-11-20

Huddersfield Town Women’s Development Squad played Middlesbrough Women’s reserves on Sunday at Middlesbrough College, aiming to end their run of 2 defeats in a row.

The game started slowly with neither team creating many chances, but Town had most of the possession, controlling the ball well – as a result of their work in training. The best chance in the early minutes came from a Macey Ellis ball across the box, but nobody was there to meet it and was gathered up by the ‘Boro keeper.

Then, after 17 minutes, Leoni Price got caught in possession just outside the Town penalty area. It was nicked off her which put the ‘Boro striker 1 on 1 with Lauren Joyce and it was finished into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to the home side.

Town kept possession after the first goal, but still didn’t make many chances, although their opponents hardly saw the ball. The best chance that Town had in this slow and steady period was a Tara Duce cross which was aimed for Molly Ellis, but couldn’t be met.

Town then had a chance 3 minutes from the break when Molly Ellis was put 1 on 1 with the ‘Boro keeper, which ended up being saved.

HTWFC vs Middlesbrough - 01-11-20

Town finally got their first goal, which was deserved after being so dominant. Emma Samways ran the ball wide and cut into the box, shimmied to get a good angle and fired it into the back of the net to make it 1-1 before the break.

The second half started brightly for Town again and 7 minutes after the restart the Terriers got their second with a beautiful move from the two Ellis sisters. Macey started the move with a pass to Molly, which was reversed back to Macey who found the back of the net to make it 2-1 to the Terriers.

Town then could have made it three when Lois Scholefield ran down the wing and passed infield to Macey Ellis who squared it for Tara Duce, but the striker couldn’t control it with her first touch and the ‘Boro keeper was able to gather.

Town weren’t to be denied a third for long, though and this time it came from a set piece. A corner was whipped in by Duce and, after a melee in the box, Kayley Hird struck a deflected shot into the goal to seal the game at 3-1, capping a dominate attacking display from the Terriers.

Lauren Joyce hadn’t had much to do back in her goal, but her time came when a Middlesbrough chance forced her to save not once but twice before ‘Boro put it over the bar to keep it at 3-1

Town could also have had a fourth goal after Emma Samways was played through 1 on 1, but again the ‘Boro keeper was able to save it.

So, Town have their third win under their belt with a dominant display, however it will be a question of time to when we next return, due to the Government’s second lockdown.

HTWFC vs Middlesbrough - 01-11-20

Match Report by : Oliver Holmes


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