The SWPL is back!
A new year, a new format and a new look about Spartans Women as Suzy Shepherd gets set to lead her side into the rejuvenated top flight of Scottish Women’s Football as SWPL 1 kicks-off on Sunday at against Aberdeen.
There’s a renewed sense of enthusiasm too in the infectious ‘can do’ attitude that glows off midfielder Alana Marshall. Now in her 5th season at Ainslie Park, the talented playmaker is relishing another season against perenially difficult opponents in Aberdeen.
“There’s a fantastic feeling about the changing room – a real buzz.
What we are learning on the training pitch through Suzy and Ian are being transferred really well onto the park on match days.
“We’ve changed our formation throughout the games so far in order to see what works best for us and the players have adapted well to it.
“We’ve come a long way over the last few games of pre-season and more recently our cup win over Stirling, where our fitness training certainly helped us through extra time.”
Learning a plethora of new players’ faces and names over the winter pre-season spell has been one the 28 year old Vice-Captain has enjoyed and embraced with open arms.
“We’ve got plenty new faces at the club this season and it’s taken very little time for everyone to gel as a unit – you can see this paying off during match days too.
“As with the start of any new season though, there are always some nerves about but the girls are really excited and ready to get out there to show that we aren’t the underdogs some are making us out to be and are most definitely here to compete for silverware this year.”
Spartans delivered an early statement of intent by undertaking an audacious away trip to English Premier side Doncaster Rovers Belles as part of the their pre-season plans.
“It was brave of us to take on Doncaster.
Yeah, we probably went down there knowing we weren’t going to win but just to play a side of that calibre showed us what standard we need to aspire to be. I think it also gave us a bit of a collective kick up the bum a wee bit.
We need to be playing against the best to be the best – that’s basically it.”
Speaking of Sunday’s ‘first footers’ in the shape of Aberdeen, Marshall spoke of how she was looking forward to locking horns against old friends and foes.
“Aberdeen are certainly a decent side and we know the danger that the likes of Rachel Small can offer but we’ve got a changing room full of players who can take care of their threats. At the end of the day though, I think Aberdeen should be more worried about us than we should be about them.”
The SWPL 1 season opener kicks-off at 1pm.
Admission prices are frozen once again as Spartans continue to deliver affordable football for all. Season Tickets can be purchased on the gate at £30 Adults, £15 Concessions and Under 16s continue to gain entry for free.
At the gate prices are £5 Adults, £3 Concessions.
Reported by Spartans FC Women
Picture: Carson Ralton