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Watford have made an encouraging start to the new campaign and, although they have yet to register a win, Sarah Wiltshire feels they can acquit themselves well in the National Division.
The Hornets have so far drawn all four of their opening league games and winger Sarah told Women's Soccer Scene that the team has made a marked improvement since last season. "It's gone quite well so far," she said, "we are a lot harder to beat than before, although we are not quite scoring enough.
"We have a new manager in Neil Hart and everyone likes him. We are all happier with the new formation we are using and Neil is really good and positive and wants us to get forward and attack. The draws will soon turn into wins hopefully."
Sarah herself has been in great form with three goals to her name but she is keeping her feet very firmly on the ground. "I've been a bit lucky really," she smiles, "but I hope to keep scoring. I've been enjoying it lately and that obviously helps. I don't mind playing on either wing as I quite like to switch flanks, but the wingers are told to get forward to support the front two so it has been known.
"It's actually my best start to a season since Centre of Excellence football, I have set myself a higher target of goals and it's going okay so far. I don't usually get that many from the wing!"
Watford's start reflects the close nature of this season's National Division and Sarah admits that it is a good thing for the game. "The league is the tighest I've known it this year," she said. "We go into each game knowing we can win, whereas realistically in the past there are some games we hadn't a great chance. We are only four points from the top of the table and only need to win a couple of games to get right in the frame.
"We played Blackburn and drew 4-4 and it was a really good game. They (Blackburn) were playing really well and went 3-1 up but we fought back to go in front before they equalised from a free kick in the last couple of minutes. It was frustrating but at least we didn't lose - we would have lost the game last season.
"In contrast, against Sunderland we had to dig in and hold on for a point after our goalkeeper was sent off in the first half. We did well and nearly nicked it at the end, everyone was so proud of each other afterwards."
Watford's last match on Sunday ended in a goalless draw against Barnet. "It was a tough game," recalls Sarah. "Barnet are a physical side with a couple of good strikers. It was a really even game in which we defended well but perhaps we could have scored a couple of our chances."
This week, Watford turn their attention to the Premier League Cup and a much needed win against Aston Villa. "We lost our first group game to Cardiff City and it was a bad day," she admitted. "We have got to win - the team itself needs a win and hopefully we can continue on from there if we win on Sunday.
"We know it will be a tough game against Villa, because Cardiff and Coventry were both good sides, and we will need to play well and not underestimate them."
After last season's struggles, Sarah is setting her sights a lot higher this time around. "We just need a couple of lucky bounces and we'll be okay," she says. "We just signed Rachel Pitman as a new striker - she is a good player and I link up well with her. Megan Wynne has broken into the team and is my fellow winger, a very promising young player.
"We would love to win a trophy or at least get to a Final this season, and we feel that we can do it. In the league, we are aiming for a place in the top three, and I think we can get there once we turn these draws into wins."
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