Gillingham Ladies were rocked by the news in the early Autumn that club captain Vicky Ashton-Jones would be ruled out of action until 2014. Not one to let the disappointment of injury get her down, Vicky has remained a huge part of Gills Ladies recent success, playing an important role off the pitch and besides it, supporting the girls from the dug out at every game this season.
Vicky’s dedication has been rewarded as she’s been asked to lead the Reserves as manager for the next month. We caught up with Vicky to find out more about her recent promotion. “I spoke to James Sunday evening” Vicky told us, “and we were talking about how I’ve been finding it watching games from the dugout.”
“He said he was going to have a think about a few ideas to try and get me more involved in the coaching side of things. I’m still quite vocal from the side lines and think James could tell I wanted to get more involved. So he came back to me on Monday and said he wanted me to take the reserve team!”
“I was pretty surprised to be honest but was keen to give it a go. It’s only temporary for the next four to five weeks and I’ll be handing the reigns back to Bill.”
And whilst Vicky’s still focused on getting back into the heart of the Gills defence, looking to the future, she reveals coaching is something she’s intrigued by: “I’ve been around the club along time now and have always been keen to move into coaching/management at some point.”
“I wouldn’t say I’ve been working towards going into coaching and its definitely not something I’m looking to take up on a permanent basis anytime soon. I have my knee surgery due in December and will be fully focused on regaining my fitness to be back playing in a Gills shirt as soon as I can!”
“Yet my immediate focus is enjoying the next month working with the Ressies, surgery and then my rehab. Ultimately I want to be playing for the first team again next season!”
Vicky also told us how pleased she is to have been given the responsibility by manager James Marrs: “Another reason why James wanted me to get involved with the reserves was because I’ve worked with him for nearly two years now and I know how the first team operate. James wants to try and instil some of the first’s mentality into the reserves.”
“I want them playing similar football to the first team, getting the ball down and playing. The girls are good enough to do it and just need a bit of confidence in themselves to do so. I’m fortunate to have Amy Merricks, a coach who played for the club last season, who has come in and will assist with the reserve set up. We’re both really eager to get the best out of the girls.”
Vicky begun her managerial reign at the Reserves on Sunday against Charlton Athletic. Asked how she felt the game went, Vicky answered: ‘It was a tough game against Charlton and I was very impressed by how the girls started, at times some of the football they were playing was fantastic.”
“In the second half we started to tire and there were some tackles flying in from both teams. I think with both teams having a sending off it made it difficult for us to keep up our style of play. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the girls, it was our first game and a good building block.”
“The result wasn’t important, just how they tried to play football. There was plenty of positives to take from the game, the main one for me was that the girls showed they can get the ball down and play. One of the big things for me is that the girls do need to be fitter, they know that themselves. They’re willing to graft though and that’s half the battle, we’ve got to focus on one thing at a time but I’m confident we will get where we want to be!”
Keep an eye on how the Reserves get on by coming along to a game. The Gills fixture this can be found here.