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Leeds Ladies defender Sophie Thompson insists that her team can be amongst the front runners in Northern Division One this season.
Leeds underlined their credentials with a fine 3-0 victory over Liverpool Marshalls Feds and Sophie told Women's Soccer Scene that the result, against last season's runners-up, will do the team a power of good. "It should be a huge confidence boost for the girls," she smiled. "I think there were a few nerves before the game as obviously last season we stopped them from winning the league, so we always knew they were going to be contenders coming into this season and be a decent outfit.
"But beating them in the fashion we did sends out a massive statement to everyone and hopefully we can keep the momentum going for the games to come and be the team that is feared."
Leeds also needed to overcome some pre-match drama, as goalkeeper Georgia Wattam was injured in the warm-up. With no specialist replacement on the bench, midfielder Beth Smith was called upon to deputise between the posts.
"Overall I think the team performance was solid, especially after the disappointment of losing our keeper 'Bob' in the warm up to injury," said Sophie, "but instead of letting this faze us, we went out there to win for her. Throughout the game we had moments where we played some fantastic football, which resulted in three great goals being scored.
"The whole team stuck together until the final whistle with a solid defensive performance and I never felt like we were going to concede even with Smithy - who is not a natural keeper - in the sticks, fair play to her, she stepped up and took one for the team and did very well."
After a solid season last time around, can Leeds be amongst the challengers for the league this season? "110% we can!" replies Sophie. "I feel with the players and staff we have at this club, we can challenge for promotion, everyone is buying into the same thing and working hard on and off the training pitch and in games. I don't feel we have quite shown our potential yet in terms of the ability we have at the club, but we are getting the points on the board and if we can continue to do this the performances will follow! So yeah, definitely.
"Being a new player into the club, obviously it's hard to comment [on whether the team is stronger this season]. However I know they had lost some good players to higher placed clubs before I joined, but I feel that the girls haven't dwelt on this and they are all quality players. There has also been some great new additions to add strength in depth."
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