There always has to be a first for history to be made. Only history will show if Hannah Dingley is the last.

Her appointment as caretaker manager of Forest Green Rovers this week was a watershed moment. It sparked conversation, provoked debate and, as expected, attracted ridicule.

When new ground is broken, when thinking is done outside of the box, those polarised positions are always going to be taken. In the game of tomorrow, the normality of such situations could well make all the furore of today seem somewhat trivial.

Dingley took charge of her maiden match on Wednesday evening as Rovers began life after Duncan Ferguson with a 1-1 draw against Melksham Town. As Dingley said herself, she does not want to be the first and only.

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Her promotion from the academy system at The New Lawn will act as inspiration for other aspiring and talented female coaches. It could shatter the glass ceiling and open doors and all of those within the women's game will no doubt wish Dingley well on what is a voyage of discovery.

"I think it’s huge," Jo Potter, the new head coach of the Rangers women's side, said as she met the media for the first time since her appointment last month. "Having people in those positions available to be there. Being in and around that club already to have that opportunity.

"That’s just the progression we’ve got to make. It’s just being in the right place, doing the right things, putting the hours in making sure you’re good at your job.

"When you’re good at your job, people will notice you and you will get opportunities. I’m a firm believer in that.

"I think it’s a huge step for women in football – as opposed to just women’s football.

"I think it was only going to be a matter of time. I think Emma Hayes has been spoken about for a long time.

"It just shows. Women don’t necessarily need men’s football but if it can be an option, why shouldn’t it be an option? Just the same as if men want to work in women’s football. It’s an option, it’s there, it’s available.

"If women want to work in men’s football, it should be an option, be there and be available.

"I think this is just the starting point for that. It just says 'yeah, if you want to go down that route, it’s there and available for you'."

Potter has been heading down her own path for the best part of two decades. The latest stop on her journey is one of the most significant and her appointment at Auchenhowie sees her move into management for the first time.

Her playing career is best remembered for her three spells at Birmingham City, the club where she was assistant manager last term, and her international outings for England. Potter was an FA Cup winner with the Blues in 2012 and made more than 30 appearances for her country, scoring three goals and turning out at two major tournaments.

At 38, she is now ready for her first step into the dugout in her own right. The chance to do it at a club like Rangers only adds to her sense of excitement at what lies ahead.

"I’ve coached for about 20 years," Potter said. "It was big for me. I didn’t want to stop playing and be thrown in at the deep end.

"I knew I wasn’t going to have a million quid in my back pocket and be able to take time off from work and get coaching experience after I’d stopped playing.

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"So I made sure I worked hard when I was playing. Even when I signed a professional contract for the first time, when I was nearly 30, I was coaching for those six years at Championship level, the one below WSL.

"Before that, I worked for the FA for over ten years coaching at five to 11s. I worked for centres of excellence and academies – every single age group. I took Solihull College for two years, that in between age group between 17 and 19.

"I literally hit every age bracket and saw every developmental process that comes along with a five-year-old right to a senior women’s international.

"It’s been a long coaching career in very different areas and I’m trying to make sure I keep all that now on my managerial side."

It is two-and-a-half years since Potter hung up her boots. A four-year stint at Coventry City preceded her time on the staff at St Andrews and she now succeeds Malky Thomson after he returned to a role within the academy at the end of last term.

Rangers Review: Malky Thomson

Potter has put in the hours and the miles throughout her career to get to where she is today. A move to Rangers will not daunt her after she was tasked with bringing the SWPL title back to Auchenhowie and returning the club to European football.

"I was never scared of it," Potter said as she reflected on her coaching journey. "I always felt comfortable because of the time I’ve put in.

"Even though I was assistant manager at Birmingham, Darren (Carter) was very helpful. We did it as a partnership.

"I was already dipping into higher management and dealing with the players on the exact same level Darren was. I made it very clear that was the route I wanted to go down.

"The long days are worth it. It was tough at times but I did it as a player. I had to work and play.

"We trained between 8pm and 10pm at night, but I’d have been working eight or nine hour days beforehand.

"You did it because you wanted to do it. It was a choice. For me, that choice continued. I always did my day job when they became football, but then went off to coach at night because I wanted to do it.

"I knew it was important for me and my future. I’ve said before I want to be the best and make the best of where I am. I know you have to put the hours in to do that."

The search for Thomson's successor was headed by Amy McDonald, the Women’s and Girls’ Football Manager, and also included input from chairman John Bennett and new chief executive James Bisgrove.

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The 'one club' ethos that runs throughout Rangers has resulted in time, money and effort being invested in the women's setup in recent seasons. It must reap rewards once again and Potter can use her vast experience to lead her side to success.

"I always try and keep my player head on," Potter said. "It is very important because you can see things a little bit earlier, you can sniff things a little bit earlier, you can see any anxieties or worries or if you are getting a group along to where you want to get them to.

"Because you have felt it yourself, I am not saying it makes you the best coach in the world, but it can help you manage that group. For me, I try to keep that player head on as well as knowing what is best for them and the team.

"I think being in winning environments is what I eluded to earlier. It is a process and how we keep creating that process.

"Not making it a big deal. When you win and you are not expected to win or it is something that is a one-off, it can be a very emotional day.

"It is something we need to become accustomed to and try and get that competitiveness. I was ecstatic when I walked in and the girls were buzzing everywhere in training. I would expect that on the first day but it is something I haven’t got to fight to bring."