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Air Force 1 Mid 07 Prm Qs Flax

Vassie works full time for the RFU with grass roots rugby, and coaches clubs in Burnley and Pendle, looking after Manchester part time.

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Air Force 1 Mid 07 Prm Qs Flax

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Despite the challenge, Vassie's outlook is 100 per cent positive and, if improving results are anything to go by, her players are on side as well.

the season with just four players retained from a previous squad of 42, and RFU funding that had been slashed from 200,000 to 30,000 in the wake of last season's relegation.

Air Force 1 Mid 07 Prm Qs Flax

Although Manchester are still being soundly beaten every week, the three figure scorelines of earlier this season seem to be a thing of the past.

Air Force 1 Mid 07 Prm Qs Flax

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Air Force 1 Mid 07 Prm Qs Flax

She came to the club at the start of the season as a conditioning coach, with Paul Reid looking after team affairs. But when Reid was forced to leave after his young son developed epilepsy, Vassie stepped up.

With Manchester destined for relegation, and in line for a few more drubbings along the way, they will be thankful for Vassie's upbeat attitude.

Air Force 1 Mid 07 Prm Qs Flax

"The players have been fantastic," 28 year old Vassie said. "You have to give them a lot of credit. They have to make the choice to say we are going to stick with this and work through this. I have an awful lot of respect for them for making that choice.

Elaine

When Elaine Vassie took over as head coach in mid October, the embattled National League 1 side had conceded a massive 698 points from their first six games.

"The junior section is exceptionally strong and we really need something for those kids to aspire to for when they are seniors. It would be a real waste otherwise because they are the most talented junior section I have worked with.

The fact that she is a rarity in being a female coach has barely crossed Vassie's mind.

And while things are gradually improving on the pitch, Vassie is already looking to strengthen the infrastructure of the club as a whole.

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"Our aim is to go out on the pitch and see if we can make more of an impact on certain areas. We look at what we can control because looking at the scoreline isn't going to give us motivation."

Air Force 1 Mid 07 Prm Qs Flax

On Air Force 1 Mid 07 Prm Qs Flax top of all that, Vassie had to negotiate the potentially tricky hurdle of persuading 15 blokes to listen to a woman tell them what to do on the field.

"I've not given too much thought to me being a girl. When I'm doing the job I'm a coach and that's that. And for the lads that's how they view it as well," she said.

"From a coaching point of view it's about setting small goals. We know the scoreline is going to be big, but we've accepted that and with time it will come down, as it is doing at the moment.

Air Force 1 Mid 07 Prm Qs Flax

"Aside from the normal drivers that a club would have at National League One level, that's an additional push to say we have to make something happen here for these kids."

She said: "Early on we were putting out a second team but that had to withdraw from the league. So now we're saying let's not just develop the first team but the whole senior section of the club.

Air Force 1 Mid 07 Prm Qs Flax

80 3 at Sedgley Park, which is a marked improvement on their 148 0 opening day thrashing at home to Esher.

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Air Force 1 Mid 07 Prm Qs Flax

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