After only narrowly avoiding the drop last term, the Rovers Ladies boss has been busy assembling a group of players who understand what it means to play for the club and what it takes to compete with the top teams at this level.
The 20-player squad features a host of familiar faces – with no fewer than seven returning Rovers – and boasts a wealth of Premier League experience.
Donnelly, who is embarking on her first full season in the hot-seat, is excited by the potential of the new-look Ladies outfit and can’t wait to get the season going.
And after failing to find a consistent run of form last term, she believes her side have a point to prove in the Northern Division this time around.
“It was a difficult season last season for many reasons, but we don’t want to dwell on that,” said Donnelly.
“We’ve regrouped and moved forward, and both AJ (assistant manager Amanda Goodwin) and myself have been very busy in terms of recruitment and selecting players with the necessary experience and quality to play in this tough league.
“We’ve got bags of experience and plenty of characters in there, and have found a formula that compliments what we require to be successful at this level.
“Albeit we’re a relatively new squad in terms of gelling together, which is something we’ve worked on throughout pre-season, given that a large proportion of our new signings are ex-Rovers players, it means that they understand the requirements from the club and for the league they’ll be competing in.
“We’ve had a good pre-season in terms of the time we’ve spent together and the matches that we’ve played. We’ve gone about our business quietly and we will let our football show what we’re all about.
“Me personally, I’m excited to see the girls in competitive action, and to see them play and grow together as a team.
“A large contributory factor behind players wanting to stay with us and us attracting new players is the wealth of experience we have in the coaching department and the continuity within that.
“It pleases me that our backroom team – AJ, Iain Hall, John Dawson, Andy Smith and Brad Hennessey – are all the same as last season. We have a collective goal and that is we have a score to settle after a disappointing season last time round.”
Rovers get their FA Womens Premier League Northern Division campaign underway at home to Huddersfield Town this Sunday (August 24th), kick-off at AFC Darwen is at 2pm.
ROVERS SQUAD 2014-15: