THACKLEY AFC Ladies are more determined than ever to kick on as a club.

The Bradford side currently play their football in the West Riding County Women’s Premier Division under the guidance of manager, James Wright.

After finishing 7th out of a possible ten last season, Thackley’s boss is eager to add more competition to his squad ahead of the season’s start on September 3 to ensure they can continue to compete at one of the highest levels in West Yorkshire.

Teams such as Bradford (Park Avenue) and Skipton Town also play their football in the Premier Division, which emphasises the quality of opposition that Thackley come up against on a weekly-basis, however, they need more strength-in-depth if they truly want to push on as a club admitted Wright.

He said: “Heading into the new season, we are in a better position than we were last year, but recruitment is still proving to be a big struggle for us.

“A lot of the players that we do bring in are development players, so it takes time for them to reach the required standards of the West Riding County Premier Division.

“We have a very strong starting 11 but we don’t have a very strong squad. In the pre-season games, we’ve seen that when we make a change during the match; it can hinder our progress and momentum, which is where the problem lies at the moment.

“It’s frustrating for me and the team because we have a really strong core group of players, but the youngsters who are coming through, who have done well for us when they’ve played; they are a little behind in terms of what we need to be competitive in this tough league.”

Wright added: “We love that we’ve got a junior set-up to help players make that step up to the first team, but we might be waiting six months to a year until the younger players reach the level that is required in this division. So, we do need some more additions and quality to come in before the start of the season.”

Thackley’s captain of last season, Kath Connell has departed the club to pursue work opportunities and Lauren Tate has stepped in to be her replacement, something that Smith feels can help inspire the team.

He said: “Of course, it’s never nice to lose someone of Kath’s calibre and experience. She’s been a great servant for the club and all we can do is thank her for her time here.

“On the other hand, Lauren is the ideal replacement because she also has experience, she’s a great leader and she’s a great communicator. I have no doubts about her taking on this role and I feel she can be one of the leading players next season.”

Thackley’s season gets underway on September 3 when they travel to Brighouse Sports FC Ladies and after finishing 7th last time out, Smith isn’t putting too much pressure on his side ahead of the season’s start.

He said: “Of course, we want to improve and show progression, but we also must be realistic. We have a great starting lineup, but we need to make improvements to the squad as a whole, which hopefully will come through promoting the club.

“At the start of pre-season, we set a goal of finishing in the top four, however, we’ve had to slightly alter those expectations because of the recruitment over the summer. Hopefully we can make some more additions in the final two weeks of pre-season.”

Thackley Ladies are eager for new squad members to join the club, both at junior and first team level, so if you are interested in joining a well run and highly thought of club in Bradford, contact or 07359112324 for more information.

Training takes place on a Wednesday from 7:30-8:30 pm, while matches are played on a Sunday afternoon. All players are welcome.