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We talk to...Carla Ward (Sheffield FC)
 Women's Football News 18 Apr 2014
 
We talk to...Carla Ward (Sheffield FC) - 18 Apr 2014 - Women's Football NewsSheffield FC won the Northern Division title for the second successive season on Sunday when they beat Preston North End 5-0 and both Nottingham Forest and Stoke City had lost, meaning they could no longer be caught. 
 
Sheffield captain Carla Ward talked to us about their achievement and the squad's determination for further success before the end of the season: 
 
Congratulations on winning the league title, how does it feel to be confirmed as Champions?
Thanks, it's a bit surreal at the moment. It was a bit of a strange situation, having come off the field after the 5-0 win, we were happy knowing a win at home next week would seal it. Then news started to come in that other results were going our way. By the time the news had been confirmed, some of the girls had left the changing room and the few of us that were there were a bit shell shocked. Obviously we're all very happy but a strange feeling to say the least. We have worked so hard as a group this year on and off the pitch trying to play the right way so it's pleasing to cross the line early and regain the title.

Was it also good to clinch the title in style with a 5-0 win over Preston North End?
Very. However, people will look at that as a big result, but to be fair to Preston they had a much weakened side to the team we played two weeks ago with forced wholesale changes. We knew they had a young side out, so our game plan was to try and put them on the back foot from the word go and it worked. It was pleasing to be clinical in front of goal and I felt we killed the game off by half time.

Given that some teams have effectively come down from the division above, do you think that this title is an even bigger achievement than last season?
Yes, definitely! I think at any level, retaining the title is always difficult, especially like you said with teams having dropped down. I also think the teams that have come up have been tough opposition - Bradford City and Stoke City both having good seasons, and Bradford in particular I think will finish strongly.

You are at home to Derby County this week, do you see it as very important that the teams keeps on winning?
One thing we don't want to do is let our foot off the gas now. People might think we will ring the changes now we have won it, but I don't think that will be the case. We have a huge Cup Final coming up, so I'm sure everyone will be playing for their shirts so I don't see any let up. I guess the only thing you can say is the pressure is off so we can go and enjoy it, but our girls have a winning mentality so I don't see anyone wanting anything but to keep winning.

That's two trophies in the cupboard now with one to play for, the Premier League Cup Final against Cardiff. How determined is the team now to make it a trophy hat-trick?
This for me is the big one. There are a number of players in the dressing room that have never got to the FAWPL League Cup final and a few that have got there and lost, so amongst us not one of us has actually won it, which gives us huge desire to go and try and win it. I think it would be a great finale to what has been a very good season all round.

Is there anyone at the club that deserves credit as a part of your success, someone who is often unsung?
The gaffer, Helen Mitchell! Sheffield FC have grown a very good reputation over the years and it all comes down to the standards she sets. Most clubs have a manager, secretary, treasurer, social media manager and even more staff...we have Mitch who does it all, and so many people don't see that. The club certainly wouldn't be where it is today without the gaffer.


 
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