Sarah feel­ing back ‘home’ with Glovers

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Chris Bai­ley

MANCH­ESTER CITY are in­tent on vac­u­um­ing up the bright­est tal­ent in the coun­try but for Sarah Wilt­shire at least, there is no place quite like home.

The Wales in­ter­na­tional ticks all the boxes you would want from a top-flight for­ward: a wand of a left foot, an eye for a goal and the abil­ity to play on the wings or in the hole.

It’s ex­actly why City came call­ing in Jan­uary af­ter the 24-year-old daz­zled in her first sea­son at Yeovil, hav­ing net­ted ten goals in 11 league games.

In­deed, Wilt­shire was talked about in much the same breath as Beth Mead and Fran Kirby in WSL 2 last year – the for­mer now WSL1’s top-scorer, the lat­ter Chelsea’s record sign­ing.

Strug­gling

Ul­ti­mately she cut her time short at City over the mid-sea­son break af­ter strug­gling to cope away from her fam­ily base in Hert­ford­shire, re­turn­ing to Yeovil.

But on re­flec­tion Wilt­shire be­lieves the ill-fated move has only made her stronger.

“I wasn’t play­ing at City and I was strug­gling away from home, I’d been away from my fiancée Steve for a long time too,” said Wilt­shire.

“I wasn’t happy and I fig­ured I wasn’t ever go­ing to be happy while I was there – it was a tough de­ci­sion for me to leave Yeovil in the first place.

“It was all very rushed when Manch­ester City came in for me and I had to make a de­ci­sion quickly, and look­ing back I prob­a­bly wasn’t 100 per cent ready to go.

“At the time I didn’t want to look back with any re­grets but if I were to switch clubs again, I’d have to make sure it’s the right move.

“I still felt that I tried my best to break through at City and to be in that fully pro­fes­sional en­vi­ron­ment train­ing ev­ery day was a good ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I played one game against Sun­der­land, which I can look back on with pride as it was my first WSL 1 game, but ev­ery­thing hap­pens for a rea­son.”

And there’s no rea­son why Wilt­shire can’t re­turn to the top tier with Yeovil, who are un­der­go­ing a revo­lu­tion of their own af­ter Jamie Sher­wood took over in Septem­ber last year.

Don­caster Rovers Belles and Read­ing may be clos­ing in on WSL 2’s au­to­matic pro­mo­tion spots but if not for two re­cent draws against Lon­don Bees and As­ton Villa, the Glovers would be in a three-horse race.

Am­bi­tions

Wilt­shire also worked with Sher­wood at Cardiff City, and she sees no rea­son why her am­bi­tions can’t be ful­filled at Yeovil.

“Jamie is a very pos­i­tive coach who has been a big in­flu­ence over the last cou­ple of years,” added Wilt­shire. “You can see since he took over last year, we’ve been cre­at­ing more and more chances.

“Since com­ing back you can see how sign­ing Corinne Yorston and Ann-Marie Heather­son have made a big dif­fer­ence, the team spirit is there – I still don’t think pro­mo­tion is im­pos­si­ble to do this year.” NOTTS County goal­keeper Carly Telford ad­mits the re­cent del­uge of FA WSL Con­ti­nen­tal Tyres Cup fix­tures came right at the per­fect time for the club.

Since the Lady Pies lost the FA Cup fi­nal to Chelsea at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium last month, they have taken one point from two WSL 1 games, los­ing to bot­tom club Bristol Academy.

But the cup has given them the chance to re­build their con­fi­dence, with County ad­vanc­ing from the group stage with a 100 per cent record, in­flict­ing heavy defeats on Ox­ford, As­ton Villa and Yeovil.

WSL 2 side Read­ing are next up and Telford ad­mits the cup has been good for the squad.

“The cup has come at a re­ally good time for us and it is good we have got our con­fi­dence back,” said the Eng­land stop­per.

“It has come as a bless­ing as we have scored lots of goals and we are back to play­ing re­ally good football.

“We have had a few loses in the sea­son but now we can kick on.”

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