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Women's Football News
Nottingham Forest have opened up a lead of four points at the top of the Northern Division following their 5-1 victory over Loughborough Foxes on Sunday.
We talked to Forest's vice captain and leading scorer Andi Bell, who was on target during the win on Sunday, and she was pleased with the result as well as being cautiously optimistic about their season so far:
WSS: With your nearest rivals not playing on Sunday, did that create a little extra pressure for you to take advantage with a win to extend your lead?
AB: Not really. We have already set certain standards for ourselves this season and I think once you are top of the table, there's already an extra pressure to win every week regardless of who else is playing. You have something to lose and it's natural for every other team in the league to want to beat the leaders. Although Derby and Stoke didn't play, others who have games in hand on us did and if we want to stay on top we can't afford to drop many points. We can only control what happens in our own matches and as the league stands at the moment if we play and we win we stay top.
WSS: How pleased were you with the team's performance on Sunday?
AB: As recent results have shown this league is massively competitive and there will be no easy games. Although it definitely wasn't our best performance, we should be satisfied with a 5-1 win against a hard working Loughborough side, who have everything to play for themselves. There is certainly room to improve further but we took our chances well and with the league already tight, goal difference may be a factor come the end of the season so a +4 scoreline is another positive.
WSS: That makes it six wins in a row in all competitions, presumably the team's confidence must be sky high at the moment?
AB: I think we can't help but be confident considering the run we are on but it could all change easily in a few results so we will keep our feet on the ground and work as hard as possible and see what we can achieve come the end of the season. However, considering the relegation battle we went through last season, it's important to enjoy it when things are going well so for as long as it lasts, we will be proud league leaders.
WSS: Have the new management team done things differently this season, or is the team a lot stronger this time around?
AB: With the exception of a couple of new faces, the team hasn't really changed that much from the latter part of last season. I think our success this season is in some part a continuation of the efforts of everyone who helped in maintaining our league status last season. The hard work, learning and camaraderie that we gained from staying up with the addition of a new manager, who has brought fresh ideas, creativity and impetus, has helped us to move forward positively this season.
WSS: Is it a little frustrating that there is no game this week, or would a week's break be good for the team?
AB: It would be nice to keep ticking over with a County Cup game but we have a number of injuries and niggles within the team so the break will give us the opportunity to rest and rehabilitate. If we use it well hopefully it will enable us to come back sharper and stronger against Newcastle on the 22nd.
WSS: Is the belief growing stronger each week that you can win some silverware this season?
AB: I think we certainly have the capability and the ambition but there's a long way to go. Obviously there are a number of teams who have games in hand on us but as long as we keep putting maximum points on the board then the pressure is on everyone else to catch us. Consistency will be a big factor this season and if we can continue the form we have shown so far, then we are in with a big shout.
WSS: The reserves are also going well this season. After a few years with some well publicised problems, is the future looking a lot stronger for the club?
AB: I hope so. Attracting players is still difficult as a club without the lure of the WSL but you would struggle to find a club that is more determined to promote grassroots football and allow the girls in their region the opportunity to play football at a high standard. The tireless and usually thankless hard work that goes on behind the scenes from a number of volunteers means that the club is run professionally and efficiently and all the foundations are there to move the club forward.
Our thanks to Andi!
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