Morecambe Ladies’ rapid rise through the women’s football pyramid enters a new stage on Sunday.
Nick Barrett’s side begin their Women’s Premier League Northern Division One campaign after doing the double of North West Women’s Regional Premier Division title and league cup last season.
It was a fourth promotion in nine years for the Lancaster and Morecambe College based side who will now face trips to the likes of Middlesbrough and Sheffield United as they make another step up. And Barrett knows it will a real test for his amateur players.
He said: “There will be a lot of travelling.
“We’re playing some big teams like Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Tranmere Rovers. There’s quite a few teams in the North East as well as in the North West.
“It asks a lot more of the girls and their commitment. It’s a big step up and we’ll see how we do.
“We’re got to keep the girls firing and up for it.”
The Shrimpettes’ build up for the new season has been largely positive.
They tested a Preston North End side from the league above despite a 4-0 defeat before wins over Blackburn Rovers, Blackburn Community and finally Blackpool Wren Rovers 7-3 on Sunday. The only downside was losing both Jade Thornhill and Georgia Lupton to ankle injuries in the final warm up game.
After what he has seen Barrett however is confident his side can hold their own in the rejigged division.
He said: “I will be happy with a mid-table or top-half finish, we’re more than capable of that.
“It’s all about consistency and if we can get the same team out every week we can easily finish in the top four.
“It’s exciting times.”
Morecambe Ladies open their season at home to Liverpool Marshall Feds at Lancaster and Morecambe College this Sunday, August 24, in a 2pm kick-off.