Loughborough Lightning season preview

Loughborough Lightning football players mid game on the pitch

With the FAWNL season start date being confirmed as 18th August 2024, Lightning go into the new season facing some familiar faces with the addition of new teams coming into the FAWNL for the first time.

After narrowly missing out on promotion by goal difference Lightning remain in the FAWNL Division 1 Midlands. The 2024-25 season will see several visits to the West Midlands again with fixtures against, Boldmere St Michaels, Leafield Athletic, Solihull Moors and Sutton Coldfield.

Boldemere St Michaels who inflicted Lightnings only defeat of the 2023-24 League season will be looking to challenge at the top of the table again, with the appointment of former Wolves player Karl Henry as Head Coach for the new season.

Leafield Athletic have also had a managerial change with former Stourbridge Coach Tash Tezgel, taking the reigns at the club and bringing in former Boldmere coach Katie Sorensen as part of the backroom staff.

Further familiar clubs in the league include Lincoln City, Northampton Town, Notts County and Peterborough United.

As with Boldmere, Peterborough will be looking to compete against Lightning for the Midlands Division 1 title again. The Posh have also seen a managerial change with Nottingham University Women’s Head Coach, Jake Poole taking charge for the new season.

No teams have been relegated into the division for the 2024-25 season, therefore coming into the league are two newly promoted teams Worcester City and Lincoln United in addition to the lateral movement of Barnsley Women.

Worcester City step up to Tier 4 after winning the West Midlands Premier Division. Worcester currently play their home games at the Sixways Stadium which is the former home for Worcester Warriors Rugby Club.

Lincoln United gained promotion via the East Midlands Football League. Lightning encountered Lincoln in last seasons Women’s FA cup progressing through with a 2-1 victory at Lincoln. Lincoln took the EMWRL by storm last year scoring 110 goals with Top Goalscorer Ellie Gilliatt scoring 57 goals in 18 appearances. Since the end of the 2023-24 season the striker has made the decision to hang up her boots.

Barnsley Women move laterally into the Midlands Division from the Northern Division. In the 2023-24 campaign Barnsley finished 4th picking up a total of 43 points with 13 wins, 4 draws and 5 defeats.

Ahead to the 2024-25 season Lightning Assistant Coach Sarah Richardson provided us with her thoughts of the league set up:

“We're gearing up for another exciting season ahead and eagerly anticipating the challenges it will bring. Our goal is to push even further this year in a league that continues to grow stronger and more competitive.

With the arrival of promising new teams and active player and staff signings among current clubs, we are sure the competition promises to be interesting. We're excited for the excitement these matchups will bring throughout the season and look forward to the fixtures ahead."

FAWNL Midlands Division 1:

1. Barnsley Women

2. Boldmere St Michaels

3. Leafield Athletic

4. Lincoln City

5. Lincoln United

6. Loughborough Lightning

7. Northampton Town

8. Notts County

9. Peterborough United

10. Solihull Moors

11. Sutton Coldfield Town

12. Worcester City