WSL 2’s top goalscorer last season, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, has been ruled out indefinitely after fracturing her leg in a closed-doors friendly on Saturday 16 April.
After boasting such potency in front of goal last year, all WSL 1 clubs would have had Sweetman-Kirk on their radars; either as a good investment or someone who could cause havoc across their backlines.
Being able to train as a full-time professional a “dream come true” for the Leicester native, and one hell of a Christmas present for the Belles faithful.
Unfortunately, with Doncaster’s first two games of this year both 4-1 home losses against Chelsea - first cutting their teeth in this year’s FA Cup, secondly in their first taste of WSL1 action since their relegation in 2013 - the fans have barely seen anything of their prolific no.9. A nightmare start to what was supposed to be a dream season.
As it’s early days the Belles haven’t specified the severity of the injury or the estimated recovery time but report that Sweetman-Kirk is in a “positive mood and is determined to be fighting fit sooner rather than late".
Belles looking to bounce back
After two tricky games against the current WSL champions, the Belles would have been looking to Sweetman-Kirk to supply some magic in front of goal, with her ruled out the pressure is on, especially with the Belles having lost Bethany England to Chelsea during the off-season. However the Belles were given a boost yesterday when [Arsenal] loanee Carla Humphrey returned to play her first 45 minutes in six weeks, however veteran of the game, Sue Smith, remains side-lined.
Belles new no.10, Natasha Dowie will be looking to fire her side to safety this year and with a WSL Golden Boot in her trophy case, the Belles will feel that they’re in safe hands (or feet) with the England international. Another option in front of goal, is fan-favourite, and returning Belle, Jessica Sigsworth.
Although their two games against Chelsea didn’t go the way Doncaster would have wanted, Sigsworth caused all sorts of problems for the Chelsea defenders, and the current England U23 could very well be the one to watch for the Belles this season.
The Belles are next in action away to Birmingham City on the 27 April.