Pre-season turned up another notch for Gillingham Ladies on Sunday afternoon as Gills travelled to play MK Dons in their first pre-season game of the summer.
Gills came away 2-1 victors with a magical free kick from Lauren Phillips, known better to her team-mates as Potts, and a winning goal from Amie Wallace.
We caught up with Potts following Sunday’s victory to get the low-down from the win, pre-season so far and what it’s been like to be part of an exciting couple of months at the club.
“Pre-season has gone well so far” said Potts, “There has been a lot of change over the summer period with personnel going separate ways and the club taking a new direction in becoming part of the Gills family.”
“As expected things have taken a little while to settle down with the new faces on the playing side and new coaching personnel and will continue to do so. I think over the rest of the pre-season period we have the makings of a good team and it’s exciting to see how things will develop going forwards.”
Gills Ladies enjoyed a tough test against The Dons and valuable minutes were gained for the whole squad as they prepare for the season to get underway in August.
“It was good to get a solid run out in what were very hot and humid conditions, which are difficult at any time let alone the first game! Minutes on the pitch are very important in building towards the start of the season and it’s what you always train to work towards as a player. So the first game is always important to get minutes and to get a positive result was even better!”
Pots went on to add that with several new faces welcomed to the club, the importance of mixing in and getting to know each other over pre-season games is important. “Over the 90 minutes the girls performed well. It’s always difficult to perform to a team’s full potential when there is lots of personnel change, you’re playing with players for the first time and with some playing out of position.”
“However the important thing is we all got a good amount of game time in the legs and showed some encouraging passages of play throughout the game with a base to work from going forwards. Overall I thought the girls collectively did very well.”
And whilst it’s good to progress well as a squad throughout pre-season, Potts was also delighted to open her pre-season account. “It’s always good to get on the score sheet and hopefully that will start the ball rolling for the season depending on what my role will be.”
“For me scoring a free kick in the top corner is not normally something I would expect from myself, as I normally – well hardly ever – take free kicks! To be honest I would have been happy that it went in off my knee so it was an added bonus that it was a well struck set piece from the outside of the area.
Having been involved with Gillingham Ladies for several seasons, Potts reflected on a momentous few months with the women’s club becoming part of the Gillingham FC family – something Potts feels will help develop her and other footballers in the future.
“I feel really positive that the club is going in the right direction and excited to see what the new season holds. We have some good quality players and I feel confident with time that we can establish ourselves within the league and cup competitions.”
“For me personally the changes brings a new challenge and start for myself. I hope that I can have a positive impact on the squad, players around me and we can all help to develop and push the club going forwards this season and beyond.”