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Football: Academy girls aim to clinch the treble
ACCRINGTON and Rossendale Girls Football Academy’s quest for the treble begins on Friday when they play in the final of the U18s English Schools and College’s FA Cup.
The talented team take on Solihull College at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry hoping it is the first of three trophies they lift to cap a memorable campaign.
ACCROSS are also in the semi finals of the British College’s Premier Cup – a competition they won last year – and are aiming to reach the end-of-season national play-offs.
The Academy team are currently second in the BCS Category One Northern League but have games in hand over leaders Gateshead. The top two teams will go through to the national play-offs.
Coach Phil Backhouse is hoping success on Friday will be the catalyst for more glory.
“We have high hopes for this year’s Academy team after completing our recruitment last year,” said Backhouse who spent six years at Accrington Stanley’s Centre of Excellence.
“We are still in the hunt for three trophies and we would love to win them all.
“Our squad of 20 players have worked extremely hard this year to take themselves to ESFA final, the BCS Premier Cup semi-final and we remain in contention for BCS Category 1 Northern League, amongst other successes already achieved this year.
“The next few weeks will prove to be the true measure of this group of players’ talent, hard work and team morale.”
It has been a story of home grown talent leading the way for ACCROSS as all but three of the squad are from the East Lancashire area.
Steff Hardy is captain of the successful team while sister Rio is the leading scorer. But it has been a real team effort.
The full squad also includes Laura Starkie, Rebecca Palmieri, Shauna Duffy, Danni Cross, Hannah Godfrey, Amie Barratt, Chloe Adams, Steffi Hardy, Beth Harrison, Tiffanie Robinson, Eve Kennerley, Emily Hutton, Zara Musker, Lucy Chadwick, Rio Hardy, Phoebe Duckworth.
“There are a few girls from Blackpool here but the rest of the Academy is made up of local girls which is great for the area,” added Backhouse who has worked on placements at Livepool FC and Tottenham Hotspur in the past. “They are a very talented bunch of girls and they are all work very hard for each other.”
The players, aged between 16 and 18-years-old combine playing and training with studying a BTEC Sport Level Three.
“We try to run things as professionally as we can,” said Backhouse. “The girls train on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, play matches on Wednesdays and study on Thursdays.”
And it is certainly paying dividends for the current crop at Broad Oak Campus.
The team lifted the British College’s Premier Cup last season when they beat Itchen College 4-3 in a thrilling final at St George’s Park – the home of the England national team – and reached the national play-offs after finishing as runners-up in the BCS Category One Northern League.
Accross haven’t played Solihull College before but Backhouse has done his home work and has had them watched a few times.
Ironically, they have also drawn Solihull in the semi final of the British College’s Premier Cup Expectations are high and a coach load of supporters will be making the trip to Coventry to cheer them on.
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