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INTERVIEW | Steve Dale on 2023/24 Genero Adran Premier campaign

Wrexham AFC Women manager reflects on league season and looks ahead to final

18 April 2024


INTERVIEW | Steve Dale on 2023/24 Genero Adran Premier campaign

Wrexham AFC Women manager reflects on league season and looks ahead to final

18 April 2024

Following the conclusion of the 2023/24 Genero Adran Premier campaign, we caught up with Wrexham AFC Women manager Steve Dale, who guided his side to a third-placed finish in their first season since promotion to the top-flight.

Looking back on his side’s first Genero Adran Premier campaign, he said: “I can look back on it with a lot of pride. 

“We’ve had a really good season and we knew coming into the league it would be difficult but I think that when you look at the results and the performances that we have had to finish third so comfortably is a fantastic achievement.

“To get to a cup final in our first season is something that we can reflect on and be happy with.

“We’re obviously disappointed with the results against the top two sides as we felt we were a lot closer in some performances but didn’t always get the results. 

“However, when they’ve been established and winning titles for so long it was always going to be difficult to try and catch them in our first season. I’m really proud of the efforts of the players and the staff as well.”

While results against the top two sides have been disappointing, Dale feels that there have been positives to take ahead of next season, despite the challenges which may be faced. 

He said: “We know that teams are going to improve next season and that it is not going to be easy. It is important that we learn from our mistakes against the top two teams and kick on. We can’t just rest on our laurels now though.

“There’s no guarantee that we should be able to get results, but there hasn't been a lot between us in some of the games and it is frustrating and disappointing but considering it is our first season it was always going to be difficult. 

“However it’s important to reflect and give ourselves a pat on the back for how we have competed as well, we’ve been fantastic considering it’s our first season in the league since promotion. 

“You only have to speak to some of the opposition managers that we have competed against this season, we might’ve not got the results that we were looking for against the top two, but they’ve been very complimentary about us in the way that we’ve completed and progressed.”

While the aim of top four was achieved by the squad, it has taken an immense collective effort to keep standards high across the campaign.

Dale explained: “I think we have come a long way. Early on in Phase One we got off to a really good start and then things got a little bit tougher as teams had done their homework on us. It was a bit of a slog coming into the backend of Phase One but we rolled our sleeves up and changed things again. 

“You have to credit the girls for the way that they have conducted themselves this season. We had new additions in terms of backroom staff as well which has obviously helped us, there have been a couple of times that we have had to win in the final minutes and that’s down to the hard work that Zoe (Clair) puts in with the players from a fitness perspective. 

“The addition of Connor (Hindley) too from the analysis element has totally changed us and allowed us to do our homework and really come together as a group of staff to pinpoint a game plan that is going to make us successful.

“If you look at Phase Two and the way that we changed shape to combat against the best two we weren't far away against Swansea and should’ve got something out of both games there. 

“It worked really well against Aberystwyth both home and away but Cardiff are a different animal at the moment and you have to give them a lot of credit.”

The season is yet to finish though, as the Red Dragons have a final opportunity to set the record right against the Bluebirds in a Bute Energy Welsh Cup final on May 5. 

Dale explained: “It’s vital we do well in that game. Finals are a different occasion and they’re not always a good special in terms of both terms, with the performance and quality of the game when you’re playing the best, but when you’re in those games you have to be at your best. 

“It’s vital that we prepare right over the next few weeks. However, if we can nail down the positives that we have done in the past against them and cause them issues then we have a good chance. 

“The girls need to hone in and focus, it is a big game and we don’t want to be feeling the way that we did and watch them lift another trophy again. 

“It’s motivation and we have to be at our best and cut out mistakes but it is a great occasion, and it would be nice to have a trophy at the end of it.”

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