AFC Fylde Ladies have appointed 24-year old Conrad Prendergast as their new first-team manager.
Prendergast left his role at Manchester City Women to take up the role, where he had been the club’s youth development coach.
Eyebrows were raised at the appointment of such a young coach however, as the former City man is eight years junior to the youngest in the English Football League, 32-year old Rossi Eames at Barnet.
And Prendergast admits that even during the interview process, he felt the club had some reservations about giving him the job because of it.
“It was mentioned in the first couple of conversations I had with Neil Joy, the chief executive, and the age was a little bit of a concern,” he confessed.
“But I think my personality came across well, and they have really shown a lot of belief in me, which is why I welcomed that kind of challenge.
“I want to prove people wrong that think I’m too young for the job or to succeed as well.”
Having started the season like a house on fire with six consecutive league wins, a dramatic loss of form leaves the Coasters 15 points behind league leaders Blackburn Rovers Ladies, who have a game in hand.
After their 5-1 win at Newcastle in September, Fylde failed to win in six games, meaning that their season is effectively over.
Despite the high expectations of the club on both the men’s and women’s sides, Prendergast is keen to make sure that the players concentrate on enjoying their jobs again.
“I’ve had a conversation with the players already as a collective, and it was one of the first things I wanted to approach and deal with when I joined the club,” he said.
“The work starts for me next season and pre-season, that’s when I’ll really try and make an influence on the team, and that’s when I’ll really look to push on.
“For the next couple of months and for the rest of the season, it’s just really about the players getting together, enjoying the football, and trying to get that spark back in them to come to training with a smile on their faces.”
The 24-year old also admitted that he has high hopes for the club, and that his expectations fall in line with the club’s ambitions.
Prendergast says that Fylde are capable of going as far as they want to, and he hopes to be the man responsible for such a feat.
“I really don’t see any limits for the club,” he said.
“My main focus at the start is to get them into that Women’s Super League and get that status for the club, and then we’ll see where it goes from there.
“I really don’t think there’s any kind of glass ceiling at the club, and we can achieve what we want to achieve, but the right people have got to be there, the coaching staff and people behind the scenes as well.”
With that kind of attitude, it certainly appears that Fylde have the right man to help them get to the top.