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Women's Football News
Wolves Women make their return to the Premier League this week when they play host to Blackburn Rovers in their opening Northern Division match.
For Wolves captain Natalie Hall, the game not only marks the club's return to the league but ends her own personal aim to re-capture their former status.
"I was part of the squad that was relegated, so it's great to be a part of the squad that got us back to where we should be as a club," Natalie told Women's Soccer Scene.
"It's been a massive uphill struggle ever since we got relegated. I think we thought we'd bounce back quite quickly but it just didn't happen - it was far more competitive than people thought in the league below. Last season we got a good group of girls together, went on a great run and thankfully we managed to do it."
As far as the new campaign goes, Natalie is looking no further than this week's match. "We need to get off to a good start against Blackburn on Sunday as it is paramount," she admitted. "Hopefully we can kick on from there. It's not the easiest start as not so long ago they were a top flight team but what better way to come back to this level of football.
"We've got a few older heads in the team now. A few of the girls are knocking towards their mid-20s so we've got a good mix of experience and a few 17-18 year olds coming through. That's what helped us last season with making our promotion push happen."
Apart from one brief spell away from the club, Natalie has played virtually all of her senior career at Wolves. "I left and came back again - I've been back for three years now having been here five years before," she said. "I think anyone who has joined us will know that we're a really easy group to come into. We've picked up a couple of new signings who have just fitted in and it's like they have always been here - we've got a good team spirit and camaraderie about us.
"We have signed Lauren Walker who has Premier League experience with Blackburn Rovers and also Hayley Phillipowsky, so we have made strong additions to our squad and hopefully that is going to be pivotal in helping us stay in the league above."
Last season's achievement in winning the Midland Combination title and League Cup was extra special for the 24-year-old as she captained the side for the first time. "I knew it was coming for two or three years, we've been close but not quite there so it was a matter of biding our time and it was going to happen. I was pleased it was the year when I was captain and I got the honour of lifting the trophies."
Natalie's twin sister Becky returned to the club last season and played a vital role in their double success. "It's lovely to be back," said the former England Under-23 international. "I was in the team that was in the Premier League and left before they were relegated but it's nice to be playing alongside my sister again."
Becky, who rejoined the club from Doncaster Rovers Belles, is optimistic about the club's chances ahead of the new season: "I think we've got a great chance. We didn't storm the league last year but were confident from Christmas onwards that we had the job done and I'm more than confident that we'll be competing at the top of the Northern Division this year.
"I can't wait for the season to get started, to be honest. We've played a couple of friendlies against Coventry and Aston Villa from the league above in which we got a cracking draw with Coventry and lost to Villa with the last kick of the game. We know what we're facing this season even the newer girls and we'll be ready."
Becky first came to prominence whilst with Wolves and, despite a few years away, she admits that her heart has always been with the club. "I can't help coming back, can I," she laughed. "I always seem to be coming back. I love the girls and it is such a homely club and it's always been home for me. I always knew I would be back here one day."
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