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New staff appointments for Blades women

6 August 2019

Sheffield United have added several new staff members to its women's coaching team ahead of the 2019/20 FA Women's Championship season.

With manager Carla Ward still leading the team into the new campaign, three new senior members of staff have joined the Blades as preparations continue ahead of the club's league opener against Aston Villa in three weeks.

New first team coach Tom Fitton arrives after eight years working at the Manchester United Foundation, where he led the club's Under 16s to five league titles between 2011 and 2018.

Fitton spent the last year leading the development squad after the club relaunched its women's team and took a place in the new FA Women's Championship alongside the Blades.

Fitton, who holds a UEFA A License, guided United to the FA WSL Academy Cup final where they were defeated by Arsenal, but the head coach was responsible for the development of the likes of current Blades players Naomi Hartley and Alethea Paul.

Tom Pressman has also joined the club as goalkeeper coach ahead of the new season after 12 months in the same role at Doncaster Rovers Belles, where he worked alongside new United goalkeeper Emily Batty.

Son of former Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Kevin Pressman, the former Belles coach will work closely alongside Batty and fellow new signing Becky Flaherty throughout the season and was recently issued his UEFA B License.

New Strength and Conditioning coach Nick Ripley and physio Liam Booth are the final members of Ward's new-look coaching staff for the new season.

Ripley spent several years working as an S&C coach in rugby with both Sale Sharks and Rouen before joining Manchester United's development squad in 2018 where he looked alongside new head coach Fitton for 12 months.

Booth has worked as a personal trainer and sports therapist for eight years for clubs such as Rotherham United, Barnsley and Chesterfield, the latter of which he became first team physio after being Head of Medical and Sports and Conditioning for the academy.

Speaking about the changes to her coaching staff, manager Ward is delighted to finally get all the pieces in place ahead of the new season.

"It was a thorough process and I couldn't be happier with who we've brought in," said the boss. "The two Tom's come in with a lot of experience in the female game and have a real positivity about them. They've settled in brilliantly and have been a pleasure to work with so far."

The new additions mean former members of the coaching staff, Mick Wadsworth, Mark Smith, Nick Dingwall, Aden Flanagan and Danny Poole, have all left their roles with the women's team and Ward thanked them for their contribution to the club's first season in the FA Women's Championship.

"We were so fortunate to work with the likes of Mick Wadsworth and Mark Smith, plus our other staff members who have left. Both of them had so much experience and knowledge in the game, it was a massive learning experience and I wish them all the very best because they'll be missed by both staff and players."

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