Aberdeen Women’s new management team are in no doubt as to their aim for the upcoming campaign – promotion.
The Aberdeen FC Ladies senior side was taken over by the men’s club earlier this year, following their relegation to Scottish Women’s Football League Division One (North).
It was their second consecutive drop after they fell out of the top flight two seasons ago.
Emma Hunter and Harley Hamdani were unveiled as co-bosses yesterday as Pittodrie chiefs continued to throw their weight behind the team and are targeting a return to Scottish Women’s Premier League Two and more.
The new season starts for the Reds at home to Inverness Caley Thistle on February 10.
Hunter, who represented Scotland as a player and is assistant coach for the national Under-16 side, said: “As soon as this was advertised I pounced on it.
“We’ve worked with a lot of the girls before and know the team has potential.
“Right from the get-go the support from Aberdeen has been amazing. The video analysis, support from sport science, it’s more of a team project.
“But we’ve been working a lot on our team strategy, the style of play and made sure the players are involved in that process.
“The tempos have been great at training so far with their attitude.”
With Division One (North) football comes games against other local sides like Cove Rangers and Buchan Ladies.
Aberdeen in their old guise were always the top dogs of the women’s game in the north-east.
How do they make sure this doesn’t change?
Hunter said: “There are a lot of good teams in the north-east, and players we know and have worked with.
“No game’s going to be easy, but we’ll lay down our marker with a consistent, professional approach. Hopefully that shows on the pitch with our football.
“We’ll go on the pitch with a plan and execute those plans.”
Hamdani, who also has experience with elite youth development and coached Aberdeen FC Ladies’ U21s last term, said: “It’s an extremely competitive squad full of youth national players capable of playing at a higher level.
“That’s why our aim for this season is to gain promotion, so they can play at that level.
“It’s a big expectation, but we’re looking forward to embracing the challenge.”
Captain Kelly Forrest has been associated with the senior women’s team for nine years.
The 30-year-old said the move to become part of the Pittodrie family was “exciting” after the disappointment of last season, where a poor start and points deduction for fielding an ineligible player crippled the team.
She added: “There’s the natural things like sports science and physio access, plus the great coaches we’ve managed to bag in Emma and Harley.
“Aberdeen are a massive club and their decision to take over the team is great for the growth of the women’s game.
“Right from the word go they’ve made it clear what they expect and that’s for us to be big competitors in Scotland and get back to where we belong.”