New Belles boss Glen Harris says he has come into the job ‘with his eyes open’ and insists the club are well placed to challenge for promotion back to FAWSL1.
After guiding Doncaster to a second-placed finish in FAWSL2, Gordon Staniforth resigned in October claiming the budget he had been given for next season made his job “impossible”.
However, former Lincoln Ladies manager Harris says the foundations are in place to again challenge at the top end of the second tier.
Harris said: “Any manager always wants more money to spend on players.
“I’ve come into this with my eyes open. I know what’s available and what’s not available.
“The club has to cut its cloth accordingly.
“But my understanding, and I’ve been reassured about this, is that the club is probably in the best position it’s been in for a long time, and it’s sustainable.
“Hopefully we can build on that. The foundations are in place to move forward and aim for FAWSL1.”
Harris concedes that he is not under pressure from Belles’ hierarchy to achieve promotion at the first time of asking.
But he says the FA’s decision to promote two teams from next season’s FAWSL2, as part of plans to expand the top flight from eight to ten teams, gives the club a very good chance of returning to the top division.
“The short term aim here is about building a squad and hopefully retaining the core from last year, but also bringing in three or four players to improve the quality and the depth of the squad,” he said.
“Medium to long term, the aim has got to be to get back into FAWSL1 - where we feel the Belles belong.
“Success for us is reaching FAWSL1.
“I think every team in FAWSL2 next season, with two promotion berths available, will be thinking the same.
“That’s where all our efforts will be targeted and hopefully with two places now up for grabs it is something we can strive towards and achieve.
“Pressure is self-induced,” he added.
“I’m not under pressure from people behind the scenes. They’ve said if we don’t win promotion that’s not the end of the road for myself.
“There’s no pressure on that front but I want success so I put that pressure on myself.”
Harris has wasted little time sounding out potential transfer targets but admits midfielder Millie Bright, who last week departed for Chelsea, may not the last player to leave Belles over the winter.
“Obviously when you’ve got players who have been pushing for international recognition, there are always going to be question marks about keeping hold of them,” he said.
“In an ideal world I’ve love to be able to keep every player we’ve got but we might lose one or two more.
“However, I do have other irons in the fire about players - hopefully with FAWSL1 experience - who want to come in and bolster the squad.
“The key thing is we want players here who want to play for Doncaster Belles.”