Wales international Alys Hinchcliffe hopes a change of management at her club Aston Villa will secure her more first team opportunities.
Alys, 22, who hails from Llanrhaeadr, near Denbigh, is in her second year with the WPL 2 club.
Iain Sankey recently became first team head coach at Villa, a move which has Hinchcliffe feeling more optimistic about her future with the claret and blues. Villa have also appointed Dave Stevens as director of football.
“Under the old manager I didn’t get much game time,” said the former Wrexham defender.
“The team hasn’t been doing so well, so hopefully a change of manager will bring a change of philosophy. He (Sankey) has a lot of new ideas which I like the sound of, so hopefully it will lead to me getting more game time as that’s what I need.”
Sankey has already had an impact as Villa followed up last week’s epic cup victory by 11-10 on penalties over Sheffield FC by claiming their first league win of the campaign yesterday with a 4-0 thrashing of Watford.
Alys was not in the squad, but remains hopeful her chance will come.
Off-the-field, her career has been given a big boost with the securing of a new sponsorship deal.
Neil Edwards, of North Wales business Edwards Homes, has provided Alys with much-needed financial backing for the months ahead.
“I’ve recently secured my first job since leaving university,” she explained. “We’re not highly-paid professionals, so to be able to afford keep playing football I needed money to cover expenses. What Neil has provided will see me through the rest of the season and has taken away those worries so I can’t thank him enough.”
Alys’ football skills first shone through as a youngster under the guidance of coach Linda Harrison at Ruthin Town Ladies football club.
She later starred for Wrexham in the Welsh Premier Women’s League before leaving North Wales to study at Bristol. While there, she played for Bristol Academy and also captained the UWE Bristol Centre for Sport team.
In 2013, she earned a place in the Wales Under-19 squad that hosted the European Championships.
She later moved on to Yeovil in the WSL, then joined Cardiff City of the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division. Alys played in the FA WPL Cup Final for Cardiff against Tottenham Hotspur last year, the Bluebirds losing 2-1 in extra time.
Next came a 2016 switch to Aston Villa, where she hopes to increase her chances of earning more Welsh caps.
She was first chosen for the full Wales squad in November 2015 for the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 qualifier at home to Kazakhstan. Although Alys did not get on the field on that occasion, she did come on as a substitute for Wales in the 2016 Cyprus Cup against the Czech Republic.
That remains her sole full cap so far, but at 22 time is on her side.
Alys also has a twin sister, Sydney, who plays in the WSL for London Bees. A former prolific striker in Wrexham colours, Sydney is now a defender, but she has endured a long spell on the sidelines after damaging her ACL.
Alys said: “She’s started running again and hopefully it won’t be too long before she’s playing again. We’re in the same league, so we might end up playing each other. I used to be a defender and Sydney was a striker, but now it’s the other way around with me being a wide-attacker.”
Source : DailyPost