Welsh Coach Hannah Dingley Prepares For Next Game After Making History In Her First

Hannah Dingley is preparing her Forest Green Rovers team to face Coventry City on July 18 in what is likely to be more low key fixture than her first in charge.

The Welsh coach – who grew up in Llansteffan in Carmarthenshire – had to deal with massive media attention midweek when she made history at tiny Melksham United.

Rovers, from League Two, chose the pre-season friendly in Wiltshire to unveil Dingley as their new caretaker manager – the first women ever to take charge of a Football League club.

The story went around the world, but for now it’s homegrown girls and women throughout Wales and England who Dingle is hoping to inspire.

Having stepped up from running the Forest Green academy, she says: “The important thing is role-modelling for other female coaches and young girls and growing up knowing that anything is possible if you work hard enough.

“It’s been a whirlwind and I haven’t taken a training session with the players yet. The players need to be the focus so we can make a positive start to the new League Two campaign.”

Confessing that her appointment on Tuesday had been a “stressful day”, Dingley said: “It’s a bit embarrassing as I was sleeping, and my phone started pinging. I was thinking: ‘What’s going on here?’

“But I’m grateful for all the messages of support. (Luton manager) Rob Edwards who has been at the club was among those who reached out.

“I had no hesitation (stepping up) and I felt it was an opportunity I was ready to take. I haven’t just rocked up today and chose to coach a men’s team. I’ve coached men’s non-league football and in the academy.

“I’ve coached men for 20-odd years. This isn’t different to me, and I’ve never had a problem with players. They just want good coaching and a good programme.

“This is going to sound a bit mean, but the players don’t have a choice. They are professional footballers at a professional club, and in a month’s time they are starting the League Two season. Their responsibility is to prepare properly for that.”

Dingley has yet to confirm whether or not she would apply for the job on a full-time basis.

Cardiff City continue their pre-season campaign on Friday afternoon with a friendly behind closed doors against Cambridge United at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The Bluebirds were 2-1 victors over The New Saints in midweek.

New manager Erol Bulut has completed the signings of striker Ike Ugbo, on loan from French club Troyes, as well as Greece international defender Dimitrios Goutas.