Rams Ladies book place in Cup final – but boss is far from happy
DERBY County Ladies manager John Bennett has stressed the need for stability as his side prepare for a trip to Women's Premier Division leaders Sheffield tomorrow.
The Rams booked their place in the final of the County Cup by beating Pinxton 7-1 last Sunday.
Melissa Johnson scored a hat-trick, with Cara Newton, Hannah Baines, Michelle Kilmartin and Daisy Pridden adding the other goals.
Pinxton grabbed an 87th-minute consolation, a superb strike from Tara Doherty.
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However, Bennett was far from happy with the goal that was conceded and wants his side to learn from their mistakes ahead of tomorrow's tough test.
He said: "Pinxton only had 10 players and were a very difficult side to break down.
"They have a new manager and were a lot better organised than the last time we played them.
"That said, we should not have conceded the goal, especially in the manner in which we did.
"We were caught in possession and it was a sloppy goal to concede. I was furious, as I wanted to go through the whole of the tournament without conceding.
"The players had a bit of a rollicking at half-time because they simply weren't following instructions or staying disciplined.
"They weren't playing where I'd asked them to play – and it cost one player her place in the side.
"However, we now have a final date with Long Eaton to look forward to in April.
"They were by far the best side we played last season and it will be a difficult game."
The Rams have another tough test on Sunday against runaway leaders Sheffield and although they're not expected to get anything from their trip to Yorkshire, Bennett believes they may surprise a few people.
"We aren't expected to get anything from the Sheffield game," he said, "but, if we play like I know we can, then we can beat anyone.
"They're on a fantastic unbeaten run but we won't be going there to just defend; I want us to attack and play positively.
"We're in a bit of a mini-league with those clubs around us – Wolves, Sporting Club, Leicester and Newcastle – and it's those games which we must really get something from.
"They are the most important fixtures."
Bennett has a full squad to choose from for tomorrow's game but could be set to lose a couple over the next few weeks.
"We have had interest in a couple of players from Super League clubs," he said.
"No formal approach has yet been made but it is a little unsettling.
"I need the girls to focus on the job in hand."
Meanwhile, with just over a week until the Rams have to submit their application to join the Women's Super League, chairman Raffaele Long has made an urgent plea for help.
If successful, Derby will play in a new-look elite league with games played in the summer and filmed for a television highlights show.
He said: "It isn't just financial help which we need. Anyone who can offer us training gear, coach travel, equipment etc is most welcome on board."
Anyone who can help should contact Raffaele on 07710 492 936.