Revamped Leeds excited by new campaign.
Millwall Lionesses v Leeds United Ladies
The FA Women’s Premier League
2pm, Sunday 22 August 2010
Beckenham Town FC
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Leeds United Ladies manager Gemma Grainger cannot wait to draw a line under the rollercoaster summer and get stuck into what she describes as a "suck it and see" season.
The club, formerly known as Leeds Carnegie, was on the verge of disbanding until the beginning of last month when Leeds United AFC stepped in and agreed to take the Ladies under their umbrella.
Not only did they need a new name, but they needed almost an entire new team. The formation of the Women's Super League, which kicks off in 2011, prompted a number of Leeds Ladies to sign for one of the eight clubs involved in next year's campaign.
In fact, of the 16 players who steered Leeds Carnegie to a fourth-place finish last season, Grainger only had three remaining. But, having built a new first-team squad, the manager is eager for Sunday's big kick-off against Millwall Lionesses.
"On 3 July I basically had to find a whole new team, but I'm very excited about the new season. It's massive for me that Leeds United men have taken us in.
"For me it's a suck it and see season. There are no expectations on us because everyone knows how hard we've been hit and everyone expects us to lose every week.
"But pre-season has been fantastic in terms of organisation and overall it has been successful on and off the pitch. It's a transitional period for us and I'll be happy with consolidation. It's not just about this year; it's about the next five seasons."
After a mixed 2009-10 campaign, Millwall finished last season in eighth, 26 points behind Leeds and 40 points off the top. But Grainger expects the Lionesses to challenge for the title this season.
"You know what you're getting from Millwall when you go down there," she added. "They are a very good side and there aren't many harder games in the league than Millwall away. They'll be up there but I'm looking forward to it."