PHOEBE WARNER is enjoying life at West Brom after the ‘emotional rollercoaster’ of seeing her former club survive a liquidation scare.
Today the midfield gem, 22, hopes to help the Baggies pull off an FA Cup fourth round upset when they play Brighton.
In December 2021 Warner was recovering from an operation on an ankle injury she sustained in a training session during her spell at Coventry United Women.
It was during that month the Women’s Championship battlers made headlines when they were on the cusp of collapse.
And in January they were rescued from voluntary liquidation by local businessman Lewis Taylor.
Last summer Coventry heroically went on to win their fight to avoid relegation from the second tier before Turner sealed a switch to West Brom last July.
It was a move that saw her begin her second spell at the third tier side.
Reflecting on that period Warner, who juggles her playing career with her job at youth charity Powered by CAN said: “It was especially hard for me.
“I had just had ankle surgery and so (my ankle) was in a cast at the time and I was on crutches.
“When my former teammates were looking for other clubs, I wasn’t in a position to do that, because I couldn’t speak to clubs and train
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“And then the club got taken over and it was like an emotional rollercoaster from then to the end (of the season) to that last game.
“It was like a great escape that happened that year, which I think was just crazy when you look back on it.”
Fast forward to this term, a fully fit Warner has been in fine form for West Brom.
Her goal tally this season includes a hat-trick in an 8-0 FA Cup third round demolition of Lichfield last November.
The midfielder, who began her football journey in Wolves Centre of Excellence at age 10, has been thriving under the management of head coach Jenny Sugarman.
It was during a stint at Aston Villa, a club Warner helped rise up to the Championship before their 2020 WSL promotion, that the player encountered Sugarman.
She credits the coach with fostering self-belief in a third-tier Baggies side who are currently tenth in the Women’s National League North division.
Warner adds: “For me Jenny is the perfect football manager because she instils confidence and belief in us.
“She was a major factor for me going to West Brom because she was also my coach at Villa.
“And with Dave Lawrence our director of football) and the people that work at West Brom, there’s a lot of ambition there.
“I really believe that one day the club is going to be in the Women’s Super League and competing there because it has got a structure in place.”
WSL dreams aside, Warner and her team-mate’s will focus on the FA Cup task at hand when they go toe-to-toe with Brighton at their Keys Park home.
At 2:00 pm today they face an Albion side, currently second from bottom in the WSL and finding their feet under their new boss Jens Scheuer.
For Warner the Baggies’ match against the Seagulls brought back fond memories of the year the team took on a star-studded Birmingham side in the FA Cup’s fifth round in 2017.
Back then the midfielder, who was 16, came on as a second-half substitute against a Birmingham team featuring WSL aces such as Ann-Katrin Berger, Jess Carter and Euros winner Ellen White.
Warner added: “I recalled seeing these players on the pitch and thinking ‘wow’,
“The good thing about the FA Cup is that you do get to play against top players you idolised when you were younger.”
While West Brom will enter the match as underdogs, Warner and her team-mates intend to enjoy the contest and put on a show for their fans.
The midfielder added: “It’s a huge game for us. It will be a great test because we know they’re going to be a quality opposition.
“This will be a good measure for us to look at them and see where we’re at.
“And it’s the magic of the FA Cup that anything can happen and we’ll have a lot of belief. We just need to go out there and deliver.”