Palace Ladies skipper Freya Holdaway has said that her team-mates are ready to step up, as the side prepare for the historic Women’s Championship opener on Sunday against Leicester.
Holdaway says that the team are galvanised behind two bold messages of intent that manager Dean Davenport is reiterating: “Play without fear. And stay true to our philosophy and the way we play.”
Whilst the league season begins on Sunday, the team have already started with a bang in the Continental Tyres Cup, beating Tottenham Ladies on penalties and toppling Women’s Super League side Yeovil Town. She said: “The two recent cup games have shown that we’ve done really well, so there really is nothing to fear. In terms of our style of play, sometimes teams can get caught up going in too defensively, especially if they think they’re underdogs. Teams try to adapt to their opponents style of play. But what Dean and the coaching staff are saying to us, is that we have a plan, and we must execute it – we can adapt to the opposition of course, but really we must focus on our game plan.”
Even after such a remarkable start to the season, the captain is under no illusion about the size of the challenge ahead in the Women’s Championship, but insists her side are ready to begin this exciting new chapter in the club’s history. She said: “Make no mistake, it’s a huge step to go from the National League to the Championship. All of the girls are ready, ambitious and willing to get stuck in. But we have all had a reality check and said, ‘We’re stepping up here, girls’. We’re not trying to build a winning team for the National league, we’re trying to build a team that will establish itself in the Championship and finish mid-table, and potentially push to win it next season.”
Holdaway is entering her fourth season at the club, and her third as captain, and has welcomed the increasingly close relationship between the Ladies and its parent club, saying: “We have a good set-up at the club, and have massive backing from the men’s side too. The whole ethos of how Palace are ‘one club’, and we really work for each other – it’s a major strength of ours.”
Support Palace Ladies this Sunday at Bromley FC, as they take on Leicester City Women at 2pm. Tickets are available on the gate priced at just £5 for adults, £2.50 for concessions and CPFC Season Ticket holders and members (who bring their card), with U16s going free of charge.