With the weather proving to be the only winner this weekend as far as TNS football is concerned, we took the opportunity to catch up with The New Saints Ladies’ manager, Andy Williams.
Andy, with midweek training off as well due to the weather, it’s been a dead week in terms of actual contact with the Ladies. How disruptive has that been to your plans?
Coaches will often talk about controlling the controllables. The weather is out of our hands so it is not worth focusing on. It may be snowing outside but there is plenty of activity indoors reflecting, assessing performance, and developing coaching plans and game plans. The focus is still very much the next game, a little encounter with top of the league (Loughborough Foxes).
The wonders of modern technology though ensures that at least you can have an effect on the squad, albeit from a distance. What input have you been able to have?
I’m in constant contact with the players, specifically more so with regards to training programmes. In weather like this the onus is pushed back onto them to do their own work in the local gym. We’re trying to arrange a Christmas night too as we still haven’t had time to celebrate that yet!
Football is often talked about in terms of highs and lows, and following on from the victory at Newcastle United Women in the SSE Women’s FA Cup, the next round saw TNS Ladies fall at the Chichester City Ladies hurdle. What was the fall-out from that among the staff and squad, in terms of morale, assessment and so on?
Although Chichester City was very much the favourite to win the tie, going out of the SSE FA Women’s Cup in the manner we did (on penalties) was disappointing, yes. But in football you have to take the rough with the smooth. The girls have been brilliant all year; making history (in reaching Round 4) was a special moment for us all, so we shan’t dwell on being knocked out, but rather look forward to repeating our historic run next year!
With the league promotion dream very much alive, a home draw to Birmingham & West Midlands was not part of the plan. A possible hangover from the cup defeat or just one of those things?
The raw stats don’t always paint a true picture – after hitting the woodwork three times, having a goal ruled out for offside, and a POTM performance from the opposition goalkeeper, to concede a soft 92nd minute equaliser was a real body blow. But that’s the game and we have to accept that.
We can’t look backwards, only forwards – what we do know now is that we are playing catch up. So we will just take it game by game and see how many points we can gain. We’ll not give up the chase and throw the towel in; you don’t do that at TNS!
Not that we are being negative, of course, just looking at recent disappointments in terms of results. Keeping it positive though, one trophy very much on the cards is the Tom Farmer Shropshire County Cup. The semi-final is up soon, how can TNS fans get behind the side?
The team are very positive and keen to drive each other onward – we are still on for two. We will show our opponents the greatest of respect and will not be complacent in the slightest. We will fight to the end in both competitions; we expect that of each other and our fans deserve that from us.
Andy, thanks for your time and all the very best for the remainder of the season.