The Wolves Women development team are set for their biggest day of the season as they prepare to face Coventry United in Sunday’s National League Reserve Plate final.
Danny Heath’s side, one of the youngest in the nationwide open age competition with an average age of 17, will be underdogs against opponents whose first team play in the FA Championship – two tiers higher than Wolves’ senior XI.
But after an outstanding campaign to date, manager Heath insists that his youngsters will have nothing to fear when they step out at the Eastwood Community Football Club stadium near Nottingham.
“It’s a tremendous achievement to have reached the final,” he says, “and I believe that the girls deserve to win it because of how hard they’ve worked all season and how much they’ve given me, my staff and the club.
“Deserving it doesn’t mean you’re going to win it of course, but I know they’ll give their absolute all to bring that trophy back to Molineux.”
Triumphant or not on Sunday, the result will not define the season of a team which has a higher purpose than winning trophies.
“We’ve had an excellent season so far,” says Heath, whose side are unbeaten in Midland Reserve Division Two and are making a strong challenge for the title.
“But,” he adds, “we don’t shout about it because the most important thing about this team is not their results but the development of the players.
“In that respect things are going really well. So far this season five of our squad have played competitive matches for the first team and that’s really pleasing for me and (first team boss) Dan McNamara, who I work closely with.
“Our girls work in training with the first team players and we’ve developed a very good pathway for the youngsters to transition into senior football.”
Heath’s second season in charge of the team is the first in which they have played open age football following their success in last year’s Birmingham County League, in which they finished runners-up while winning the League Cup.
“They’re an incredibly young team to be playing open age football,” says the manager, and it’s a massive step up in standard for the players. But the transition has been really good for them and they’re improving game by game.
“It’s been a helluva journey, especially getting to the final of the Plate. Most of the teams we’ve played against are from higher divisions than us and it’s going to be the same situation against Coventry, but it’s so exciting for all of us.
“I’m so proud of the players and of the staff who work alongside me, and Sunday gives us the chance to show how far this young team has come.”