Pompey Women 2022/23 Season Preview

Published: 15/08/2022

It’s been a busy summer in the offices of Portsmouth football club.  Not only for Danny Cowley but for Pompey Women manager Jay Sadler.

The club have so far officially confirmed the departures of Hayley Bridge, Cherelle Khassal, Shannon Albuery, Tamsin de Bunsen, Evie Gane and Freya Jones with Bekah Tonks also another potential departure.

At Tier 3 it’s not uncommon to see a moderate turnover of players.  This is especially the case in teams like Portsmouth who don’t pay their players salaries.  I know there was a little concern with the amount of players departing but when you look into each case individually there are valid reasons for them.  Ranging from career decisions to being offered paid contracts elsewhere all the players had their reasons for leaving, I wish them all the best in the future.

As a supporter I found the decision of the Eisner’s not to start paying at least the senior Portsmouth Women players short sighted.  Now is the best possible time to grow the women’s game and by not giving Sadler a wage budget to attract (or in the cases of Albuery and Khassal, keep) senior players was a huge cross road for the club.

Sadler has been given a full time role at the club, which is an excellent start but the club should have done more in my opinion.

From the list of players who have officially left Sadler now had the challenge of finding replacements.  Between the 6 officially departing players they accounted for 294 all time Pompey appearances (some across multiple spells) and 103 goals.

The club have confirmed the re-signing of Captain Dan Rowe and Vice Captain Hannah Haughton which was a great start.   Libby Kingshot, Rosie McDonnell, Jazz Younger, Emma Jones, Dani Lane, Ava Rowbotham, Annie Rolf and Anisha Hill have all signed back on for next season leaving Sadler with a very solid base squad to build from.

They have now been joined by 9 new signings. Anaisa Harney (Watford), Tierney Scott (Reading), Sophie Quirk (Charlton), Mae Goulden (Reading), Nicole Barrett (Maidenhead), Izzy Collins (Lewes), Taylor Mcdonald (Reading), Ella Wild (Reading) and Georgia Jenkins (Brighton).  The club have also confirmed Mia Adaway will be part of the squad at the start of the season having previously been at University in the USA.

Nicole Barrett is the oldest of the new signings at just 26, the other 8 have an average age of just 19.  This is surely going to make Jay’s squad one of the youngest in the league. 

So what can we expect from Pompey this season?

Pompey will be competing in Southern Premier Division again this season which is Tier 3 of the women’s game.  This is a burning desire in the manager and players to win promotion to the Championship.

To gain promotion from Tier 3 you need to firstly win your division, in Pompey’s case the Southern division.  After that you are sent to a one off playoff game against the Northern winners for the singular promotion spot.  This is one of the biggest travesties in the women’s league structure right now and it being reviewed, but for the 22/23 season Pompey know they must finish top.

Southampton managed that last year with a huge budget behind them and a team made of semi-professional, professional and youth international players.  Which gives an idea of exactly how far clubs will go to win this division.

In terms of who Pompey’s competition might be I expect Watford, Oxford and Ipswich to be right up there.  There is plenty of room for a surprise package however, there are probably 7 or 8 teams in the 12 team division who are eyeing the title.  It’s going to be thrilling.

On the cup front Pompey will play Crawley Wasps at home on the 11th September to decide who plays in the League Cup and who drops to the Plate.  They will also complete in the FA Cup, Hampshire Cup and PDFA cup.  Pompey have held the Hampshire Cup for 14 seasons and the PDFA cup for the last 4.

They will want to retain them again but face stiff competition from Bournemouth, Moneyfields, Southampton FC and Southampton Women in the Hampshire Cup and Moneyfields will have their eye on an upset in the PDFA cup.

Jay has added young, exciting players whilst retaining a core of last season’s squad.  His biggest challenge will undoubtedly be mentoring the younger players as some of them are getting their first taste of senior women’s football.  Gelling a strong, resilient team together as quickly as possible is going to be the aim of the game.

What the new players will lack in experience they should make up for in energy, hunger and enthusiasm.

Pompey will start the season at Havant and Waterlooville’s Westleigh Park but are due to move to the brand new John Jenkins stadium before Christmas. 

The club have announced the availability of Season Tickets for the 2022/23 season.  At £39 for adults and £11 for juniors, it’s fantastic value for money. 

Portsmouth kick off their league season away to Ipswich on 21st August before their first home game against MK Dons on 28th August 2pm KO at Westleigh Park.