New City of Portsmouth manager Bronwin Carter is banking on team spirit to guide her troops to success in the UK Women’s Athletics League.
City’s ladies team kick-start their division two campaign with a home fixture at the Mountbatten Centre on Sunday.
Teams representing Marshall Milton Keynes, Crawley AC, Harrow AC, Herne Hill Harries and Bedford and County AC will be among those heading to the south coast in a bid to win the battle for promotion to division one.
Home advantage has presented Portsmouth with the perfect boost going into the three-fixture division.
And Carter is hoping morale within the team and a sense of togetherness will be the key to a successful summer.
‘The aim this season is to stay up first,’ said Carter, who last managed the side back in the 1980s.
‘And if we can keep high up the table and build a good team spirit, then next year I see no reason why we can’t have a good go at promotion.
‘We’ve got a very good squad of athletes here with strength and depth, but this year is all about building team spirit.
‘It’s about keeping everyone happy and giving runners, jumpers and throwers the opportunity to perform to the best of their abilities.
‘I want every one of the team to feel special, to support one another and to really gel.
‘If the team spirit is good, we can hold our own in this division and build for the future.’
Carter has the luxury of picking from some of the south of England’s finest for their UK League campaign.
Katy Watts, Cassie Thorp, Emma Gilmore and Mandy Gault are among those who have excelled so far this season.
But the new team boss will have to make do without the services of talented middle-distance runner Jess Chen for the league opener.
The reigning county champion for the 3,000m and cross country is unavailable.
Yet Carter believes she has enough quality at her disposal to ensure a solid start on home soil.
‘Jess will be a big miss, but we’ve got a team of 18 top athletes picked for the first fixture, which is a lot more than what we had this time last season,’ she said.
‘Some people have dropped out, but this always happens. We have enough to cope.
‘It’s all going well and we’re expecting to have a good team out who will hold their own in this league.
‘It’s a good strong team who should do well at this level and cause a bit of damage.
‘Hopefully, those who miss out on Sunday will be available for the next match at the start of July.’
Carter added her team’s familiarity with the Mountbatten Centre track will stand them in good stead.
‘The fact we’re at home is a positive as we’re all used to the wind down the back straight,’ said Carter.
‘It’s a big plus. Everyone knows the track and they’re used to it.
‘Sunday is going to be tough, but I know I won’t be let down.’
Following Sunday’s fixture, City will travel to Herts Phoenix’s home track in Stevenage on Sunday, July 1.
Their final division two fixture will be held at Bedford Athletic Stadium on Sunday, July 28.
n Hampshire combined events champion Michael Muckelt will be among a strong county squad making the trip to Abingdon for the under-20 and under-15 inter-counties championship tomorrow.