Pontefract’s Jade Pennock is playing a full part in helping Sheffield United Women in their bid to emulate the club’s men’s team in reaching the top flight.
The Blades ladies are currently in third place in the embryonic FA Women’s Championship table with four wins, a draw and just one defeat from their first six games this season.
They are just three points behind leaders Aston Villa and very much in the title race with the winners of the league in May earning promotion to the Women’s Super League – matching the achievement of Chris Wilder’s men’s team.
If they do that, the women’s team will have to comply with FA regulations and go full-time, meaning players like Jade Pennock will have a decision to make.
“There’s room to manoeuvre but football is my number one goal,” said Pennock, who currently combines playing semi-pro with United Women with a full-time job as a community sports coach for the YMCA in Leeds.
“The club trains three nights a week and I’m able to attend two of those. It’s a quite similar arrangement for a few of the girls working full-time jobs.
It’s tough when you come up against full-time teams. There’s two or three in the Championship and they’re all full-time in the league above.”
United are currently competing well, however.
“It’s down to hard work, on and off the pitch,” explained Pennock, who joined United from Doncaster Rovers Belles.
“We focus on the game plan each week. Because of the class we’ve got in the team, we expect a lot of ourselves.
“As for other teams, they’ll be surprised how strong we are. We’ve got goals all across the pitch.”
Pennock was on target in Sheffield United’s 2-2 draw with Charlton Athletic last weekend and also unluckily hit the post as the Blades were frustrated not to win.
The Pontefract player hit a hat-trick in the recent 5-1 thrashing of Crystal Palace and scored a brilliant winner in a 3-2 win over top division Liverpool in the Continental Cup.