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Leicester City striker Issy Hayes insists the hardest work is yet to come after helping her side to the top of the Northern Division.
Leicester took over as leaders for the first time on Sunday as they followed up a 6-0 victory over Sheffield FC with a 7-2 win away to Rotherham Utd. Issy, who scored four times in the two victories, told Women's Soccer Scene: "It's going really well at the moment. Everyone is working hard at training and we are a close knit team.
"We made a lot of new signings in the summer and the team is starting to gel and come together now. The goals are being shared around and we are putting away our chances, but on the pitch our communication and understanding of each other has come on as the players have got to know each other and that is just as important."
Issy was one of those new players, having arrived following a successful spell with Curzon Ashton. "It wasn't an easy decision at first as I also spoke to some other clubs," she explained. "But for me, Leicester had the whole package and once I had trained and played a friendly for them, I knew I wanted to come here.
"The manager, players and everyone behind the scenes are all very nice at the club and I settled in straight away. It's all progressed from there and I am really enjoying it here.
"When I was with Curzon, I played against Leicester in the last two years and we always viewed them as the strongest team in the league. I knew how they played and that they were a good outfit which has produced some really good players over recent years. Being here should help me develop my own game because the coaching is top class."
However Issy was stepping into some big shoes at Leicester, being one of the replacements for strike duo Natasha Meade and Courtney Sweetman-Kirk who jointly topped the Northern Division scoring charts last season. "it was in my mind at first," she admitted. "I felt a bit of pressure but tried to make a good impression.
"Now I am enjoying scoring goals as any striker would! Shona Franklin has also been putting goals away and so has Natalie Reay, so the front three are all playing well together."
This Sunday, Leicester take on bottom of the table Leeds City Vixens but Issy insists that she and her team mates are taking nothing for granted. "We will go into every game with the same attitude," she said. "We will take a high work ethic into the match and show respect to all our opponents. Now we are up there at the top, we don't want to come down."
Looking at the promotion race as a whole, Issy is expecting a number of clubs to be in the frame and the battle to be close until the end of the season. "This could be our year but there are so many strong teams in the league," she replied. "There are five or six teams within striking distance and we will need to find that consistency. Although things are progressing well, we mustn't sit back on that.
"It is a very strong division and I expect Blackburn and Sheffield to stay in contention all season. Sporting Club Albion played well when they beat us a few weeks ago and Manchester City are always strong, even though they didn't start very well.
"Most of the team have played well so far including Annabel Johnson at right back and Sammy Morris in defence, who are both having good seasons. But it comes through the whole team and everyone is making a contribution.
"We don't view any team as being the best in the league, we have the same attitude whoever we are playing against. Promotion is our aim though and we want to challenge ourselves at the next level as we feel we can do well there.
"We saw both Aston Villa and Coventry from the Midlands go up last season and both are doing well. The whole area is a good standard and we want to be the other team to get up there with them." (Photo - Andrew Smith)
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