Women | Joel Hutton: “There’s a massive 2019 ahead!”
Cardiff City FC Women manager Joel Hutton reflected on the 2018/19 campaign so far, while the Bluebirds take a Christmas break before returning to action against Llandudno on Sunday, January 6th.
In 2019, City have a WPWL League Cup Semi-Final to look forward to against Cardiff Met and face Rhyl in the FAW Women’s Cup Quarter-Final. They currently sit fifth in the Welsh Premier Women’s League standings with a game in hand over higher-placed Cardiff Met, Swansea City and Port Talbot Town.
“From the season’s beginning we’ve done well,” began Joel. “The important thing is that we’re currently in a decent position. I know we didn’t have a particularly good result to end the year, but we’re in a better position now than we were at this time last season.
“We’ve taken points off clubs that we didn’t take points off last season, so there’s plenty of positives. There’s a massive 2019 ahead and a tough January, but we’ll be in a great position if we can gather momentum from the upcoming games.
“It’s important that we kick-on and for us to be competing in this league we need to be taking points off the teams around us, so we’ve lost against Cardiff Met and Swansea City, but we’ve got to play them again. We’re looking to the games ahead, we’ve progressed in both cups and it would be great if we could get into one or two cup finals this campaign.”
Joel went on to talk about City’s plans for the Christmas break, looked ahead to the next fixture against Llandudno and discussed how changing the system has benefitted the team.
“We’ve had our last training session before Christmas and we’ll have the girls in once over the break with more fitness work to keep them ticking over. The girls have got a bit of time off and they can relax and enjoy themselves, but it’s a weird one because you can’t wait for a break, but when you’ve got a break, you don’t know what to do with yourself.
“Once the season resumes, it’s more of the same and we’ll have a full weekend before Llandudno. It’s one game at a time, so we’ve got to make sure that we take care of that next game in January and they had a good result against Cyncoed to end the year, so it won’t be straightforward.
“We’ve changed the system and I think the girls have bought into and adapted to that quite well. You can see from our performances in recent weeks that it’s suiting the way that we play with the personnel that we’ve got.”
Strength and conditioning coach Richie Hughes was brought in at the beginning of the season to help with fitness and injury prevention and Joel concluded: “Since last season, our fitness has improved and that comes down to the work that Richie Hughes has been doing with the girls. We also had them in earlier for pre-season which helped.
“The most pleasing thing for me is injury prevention and the stuff that Richie does is unbelievable and massively fundamental to stopping injuries from happening. That’s the reason we brought him in and I don’t think we’ve had any muscular injuries so far this season.”