CPDM Bangor 1876 manager Jonny Batten talks to Grassroots North Wales

CPDM Bangor 1876 manager Jonny Batten

You are the manager of the first 1876 ladies team, how have things been going so far ?

Things are going great to be honest, as well as expected in light of the current situation. I’m really pleased with it and having Lois (Regan) and Aron (Griffith) on board has been brilliant.

What are the facilities like that you have to work with, good ?

The facilities that the club offer are great, to train on 3G pitches both in Treborth and elsewhere. It’s been good to see all the club train together and the seniors becoming role models for the junior players.

Tell us about your players please. Who is in the squad. Who might we know or not know?

We be formally announcing the squad over the next few weeks.

There will be some surprises, familiar faces and some really exciting youngsters and I believe we’ve recruited a talented squad of players.

I sat down with my coaches, Lois and Aron and we identified certain players we wanted at first then just put the word out to see what happened.

Once certain players came, others followed. We wanted players who would give their all and were ambitious and hungry to progress.

We wanted a youthful team with a mixture of experience but also youth – the oldest player is only 24 and the youngest is 16. It’s a great mixture to have.

All I’ll say at this stage is that the players that have come to us have exceeded our expectation, far more than I could have ever wished for.

In our opinion they are some of the best players in the area and we have a good blend of experience but also some really exciting prospects that have come to us from junior football.

How is Covid 19 affecting the girls? Most clubs say they are enjoying training but now impatience is setting in due to no start date for the football.

The squad have been great to be fair and seem to be really enjoying and getting into it.

Yes we are all frustrated and impatient at times to finally get to play but recognise that this is out of our hands so we prepare as best we can to be ready for it when it does start.

There have been lot of the unknowns, some anxiety and questions at times but the team have responded well and turn up to the sessions and give their all every time. They have responded really well to restrictions and do whatever is required to stay safe.

This time has also given us an opportunity to get to know each other, bond and gel as a team.

We also have a fitness instructor in the squad who puts sessions on for those wishing to do it and we’ve been joining in with the men’s first team for online zoom fitness sessions during this most recent Covid firebreak period.

What are your feelings on the division you have been placed in for the 20/21 season?

It’s what we expected once the league and its structure was been finally agreed.

My personal perspective is that the team gets to play and that’s the main objective.

As for the league itself we wish that we had more games and hopefully this will come in the future with the growth of the women’s game and having more teams in the area.

The layout itself makes an exciting prospect playing against established and new teams, having a local derby, playoffs but with the current situation I think it’s just great that there is a league and can’t wait to get started for real .

Can you tell us what style of play you will encourage this season?

We want play good attractive, attacking football.

As a club we’re developing and establishing a consistent style of playing across all age groups in line with the FAW national syllabus which will also feed into the U19s development team that is planned for the 21/22 season.

Do you feel better for having a season in the North Wales League behind you having coached Llanberis last season ?

Yes absolutely, getting to know the leagues, the teams, players was a really useful experience.

Knowing what to expect more than anything and how best to prepare.

It also helped with player recruitment in terms of knowing what type of player and who we wanted.

What are your overall hopes for the season ahead ?

We aspire to get into the playoffs and see what happens from there and I’d like to think a cup run would be on the cards, creating some surprises and upsets along on the way would be nice.

But really the biggest hope must be to progress and continue to develop that collective team and individual potential and make sure the team enjoy their football and come back for seasons to come.

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