Swindon Town Women’s defender Holly Randall reflects on her season so far as her side look to push for promotion and progress in the FA Cup.
Randall joined Town this season after spending time at Reading’s academy, and is looking to challenge herself by cementing her place in Richard Wood’s starting 11.
“I’m trying to get picked over people with more experience, who are older than me, and I’m looking to push past being seen as the younger player.
“It was difficult at first [coming into a new team] as you’re trying to get to know everyone and their styles at the same time, but it’s been really good.
“Again, as a young player it’s been good for my development and to have so many different relationships with different players so early on in my career is really good.”
Town have begun their campaign relatively strong, as they sit in third place behind the unbeaten Exeter City and Bournemouth, with Randall at the heart of the defence.
Despite only joining in the summer, Randall already feels at home with the team: “We’ve come together in preseason in such a short amount of time because lots of us haven’t played with each other at all.
“It’s really good that we started off so strong straight away and we seem to have gelled quite quickly.”
Although the side have started the season well on the pitch, the team have faced a fair few disruptions just nine games in as they saw previous manager, Mike Cook, depart for Gloucester City.
Despite the off-field changes, Randall praises the team’s focus and new manager Wood: “I think it’s helped that he’s been in the setup before as an assistant coach, so we all knew him already.
“It was quite easy to merge over into the manager role. Everyone will have their own opinions but for me it didn’t seem to have much of an impact in terms of disruption, it seemed to have gone quite smoothly.”
Wood’s side have also faced postponement issues due to pitch conditions as their latest away trip to face bottom of the table Selsey, was cancelled due to ‘extreme and unplayable conditions’.
Randall reflects on the postponement: “The postponements do disrupt the team to some extent.
“We get into a good rhythm so to then not have that game it can break it up, but I think we’ve worked well with that before, and we’ll come back from it too and get back to the normal schedule.”
Despite the ups and downs, Randall is proud of the way her side have battled so far this season as she reflects on their start.
“We can look it from a league point of view and a cup point of view – in the league only one gets promoted which is quite difficult compared to other leagues.
“If you’re not the top team you’ll stay in the league the next year, so I think one of the main points we’re looking for this year is the cup because we’ve started really well and already into the second round.
“We’ve got a good chance to get quite far in the cup which is one of our main goals.”
Randall’s Town are back in action on Sunday, November 26 as they welcome AFC Bournemouth to the County Ground in the second round of the FA Cup.