Cross on the busy schedule ahead

Wolves women’s National League match schedule right now is just like London buses – you wait three months for one and three turn up in eight days!

In the long, cup-filled gap since 24th October’s 2-2 Northern Premier Division draw with Burnley, Wolves have dropped from top of the table to third, sitting below leaders Derby County and second-placed Fylde.

And wouldn’t you know it – both of those sides have to be faced in that eight-day trio of games commencing with Derby’s visit to Castlecroft next Sunday.

Wolves travel to Fylde on the following Sunday, while sandwiched between those two fixtures is a Thursday night away game against seventh in the table West Bromwich Albion. With local bragging rights at stake on that occasion, it could be just as demanding an outing as the meetings with the top two.

It will certainly be a tough return to league action, which follows today’s Birmingham County Cup tie at West Midland League team Knowle and Wolves’ last chance this season of progressing towards knock-out trophy success.  

FA Cup and League Cup exits have been suffered either side of the National League’s winter break and central defender Emma Cross says: “We’re out of the two big cups so the league is our priority now, but we’d love to pick up some silverware so we’ll be going all out to beat Knowle.”

Since winning the County Cup in 2000 Wolves have been losing finalists three times and, frustratingly, reached last season’s final – against West Brom – only to have the game cancelled due to Covid precautions. 

A semi-final place for a second successive campaign is now at stake and long serving Cross, 26, adds: “It was so disappointing to lose our chance of winning the Cup last season, but hopefully we can do it this year.

“We’ll definitely be looking to get past Knowle and go back into the league campaign on a high. We’ve got three league games in a rush and they’ll all be very difficult, but we got good results against all three teams earlier in the season and there’s no reason why we can’t do it again.”

Wolves, who are the only team in the division to remain undefeated, won 1-0 at Derby then in successive home games beat Albion 2-0 and drew 0-0 with Fylde.

In their first season back in the third tier of the women’s game following promotion from Division 1 Midlands, it has been a fine effort by a Wolves team who many see as punching above their weight in the campaign to date.

“We went into the season with our target just to stay in the division,” admits Cross, “and consolidation in the higher is still our priority.

“But after doing so well up to now we obviously want to keep our good run going and stay as high as we possibly can in the table.”