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Women's Football News
Charlton Athletic's reserve team have gained promotion to the Southern Division One, meaning they will be pitting their wits against Arsenal, Chelsea and Watford next season.
The news comes after the Football Association awarded the Addicks six points for games against Crystal Palace and Portsmouth which were not played due to the opposition not being able to raise teams.
It means Sean Higgins' side have been confirmed as finishing in second place, having lost just twice all season, both times to Colchester United, and will join the elite along with Cardiff City.
Manager Higgins said: "I have been really pleased with the work the girls have put in and thankfully their efforts have been rewarded with promotion so I am very pleased.
"For a player to develop and push on for the first team they need to be tested on a weekly basis so I am really relishing that prospect that they are going to be playing the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea."
Striker Alana Garratt top scored in the league for Charlton, with nine, and also picked up the Players' Player of the Year award for the season.
Higgins said: "She is a young lady who had a fiery temperament prior to the season and had been banned for her behaviour on the pitch. She has changed her attitude totally.
"She has transformed into a totally different player, very placid and managed to control her temper on the field of play, she has been brilliant this year."
Higgins gave his Managers Player of the Year award to another young striker, Kallie Balfour and said: "She has been very good in front of goal; she has got chances and put them away."
Balfour is one of several players who stepped into the first team fold last season, as well as Jenny Newman, Katie Hardaker and Vanisha Patel, but did not quite manage as big an impact as some of the others.
Higgins said: "Unfortunately her age just got the better of her and she came back to the reserves for a few games to get regular playing time.
"[First team manager Paul Mortimer] is very impressed with her, he likes her and he is asking me on a weekly basis how she has been performing so we know she has potential."
Paul Mortimer's first team will be hoping to follow in the reserves' footsteps next season and gain promotion to the Premier Division, which Higgins believes is a realistic objective.
"I personally feel Paul will have a very strong side and hopefully Charlton's first team will be the one to beat in the division, they should be pushing for promotion back into the Premier League," he said.
Any good standard players interested in trailing for the women's teams please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org stating your name, age, playing position and last club or give Paul Mortimer a ring on (0871) 781 2095. (by David Brenchley)
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