Doncaster Rovers Belles will be in safe hands next season – after No 1 shot-stopper Nicola Hobbs signed a new deal with the club.
Hobbs, an ever-present in Glen Harris’s promotion-winning side, has put pen to paper on a two-year contract with an option of a further year.
And the 28-year-old has told the club’s official website that she could not be happier to commit her future to a team she returned to in 2013 following a spell at Lincoln Ladies.
“I’m delighted, really happy. It’s a bit of relief too because I’ve known for a long time that the Belles are the club for me,” said Hobbs who clinched 10 clean sheets in all competitions last season.
“I live in Yorkshire, work here and do a some coaching around here too so it feels like home even though I’m not from Yorkshire originally.
“I enjoy it here, it’s got a good club atmosphere, they look after you.”
Hobbs’ contract means she can remain as a firefighter for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue but also train more at the Belles’ state-of-the-art facility in Doncaster.
“It becomes a lot harder, but easier at the same time. Obviously, I’ll need to commit more (hours into training). But I want to be better, stronger and fitter as a goalkeeper,” she said.
“I’ll put more nights in (at work) which will be hard but at the same time I can now train during the day - an option I didn’t have before. I’ll be able to fit in four or five training sessions a week now as opposed to one or two like last season.”
On the signing of Hobbs, Sheila Edmunds, Belles’ club president and general manager, added: “It’s fantastic. I’ve known Nic for some years and certainly over the last one or two seasons one of the biggest strengths we’ve had is our defence and that includes Nic.
“It’s massive to keep the nucleus of your team because they know how they work together and even if we bring in a few additions, the nucleus embraces the newcomers and Nic’s great for doing that.”
Hobbs becomes Belles’ fifth player to sign a contract during the close season - following in the footsteps of Ashleigh Mills, Sophie Barker and Emily Simpkins as well as returning striker, Jess Sigsworth.