The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Sheri­dan Robins

HARTLE­POOL United have be­come the latest club to form their own women’s side – and are al­ready plot­ting a pro­mo­tion cam­paign from the Durham Women’s League Di­vi­sion One.

Hav­ing joined forces with Seaton Carew Ladies, the team is now di­rectly as­so­ci­ated with Pools.

Boss Andy Stu­art said: “I felt this was the best time to ap­proach Hartle­pool as the club has been taken over and the buzz around women’s football at the mo­ment is phe­nom­e­nal.

“What is bril­liant is that the new chair­man (Gary Cox-hall) has made a huge im­pact and one of the first things he asked was how the club was plan­ning to pro­mote and de­velop women’s football.

“It all snow­balled pretty quickly af­ter that and it came at just the right time.We had out­grown our fa­cil­i­ties at Seaton and needed to progress in all ar­eas.”

Hartle­pool cur­rently play five lev­els be­low WSL1 but Stu­art is con­vinced the side can play at a higher level.

“I be­lieve this team can play three leagues above and sur­vive com­fort­ably but fi­nances have held us back so far,” he said.

“Tech­ni­cally, we have a strong squad and be­ing a part of Hartle­pool United can only help us push on. The girls are so ex­cited about all the ex­po­sure and get­ting to wear the kit. They are like young chil­dren at Christ­mas.”

Vic­to­ria Park played host to Eng­land in 2014 and Stu­art re­calls the im­pact the oc­ca­sion had on his play­ers.

“Ev­ery­one was so ex­cited to watch the high­est level of the game,” he said. “For the team to speak to Steph Houghton af­ter the match was a mas­sive boost. She is a real role model and all the girls look up to her.

“I have told the whole team that now we are Hartle­pool United Ladies there is no rea­son why they can­not as­pire to play at the high­est level. I am al­ready see­ing a dif­fer­ence at train­ing. The num­bers have in­creased, they are feistier than ever and they are tak­ing my ad­vice to avoid boozy Satur­day nights!”

Pools face Red­car Town in the sec­ond round qual­i­fy­ing of the FA Cup to­day in their first game as Hartle­pool United. The new side are hop­ing for a large crowd at Billing­ham Town with ad­mis­sion free of charge.

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