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Women's Football News
After a good debut season in the FA Women's Premier League, Hull City are hoping to keep themselves amongst the high flying teams in Northern Division One after working hard throughout the summer.
Hull open up their campaign with a trip to Mossley Hill on Sunday and manager Rachel Gay told Women's Soccer Scene: "Pre-season training has been one of the toughest to date. Bringing in the Hull FC Strength and Conditioners has meant that the girls have been really put through their paces and are looking a lot fitter, stronger and sharper.
"We have changed our home ground for the forthcoming season, moving to the University of Hull, our main sponsor, who are building a brand new 4G pitch and a state of the art facility for us to utilise for training and matches for both the First Team and the Reserves.
"We have signed a real mixture of youth and experience to add to our already very talented squad, so there will certainly be real competition for a first team place. A lot of our new players are coming from other clubs outside of this area, including Leeds United, Notts County, Sheffield FC and York City.
"Signing Emma Bentley, the long serving Leeds United captain is a real key acquisition for us. She brings so much experience and quality into the middle of the park, she is a real leader and we will certainly benefit from having her on the pitch.
"Another major signing for us has been Amy Halloran, a goalkeeper from Notts County, this was an area we certainly needed to improve on and after seeing Amy in training, and in the two friendlies, she has proved that she is going to play a massive part in our push for promotion this year. Our most recent signing is Natasha Cooke, an experienced centre back from Sheffield FC, she has played at a high level of football and again will bring great leadership and organisation to our back four.
"This season we have also managed to bring in a couple of players from York City Ladies in Ellie Harding and Jazz Whitwell. Jazz was a player I wanted for last season but she was unable to commit to the travelling, but this year we are delighted she has decided to join us, a real talent. Ellie has probably been one of the standout players in our two friendlies, her energy levels are superb and coupled with her skill on the ball and fantastic work ethic we have definitely signed a quality player there.
"The youngsters we have brought in have really impressed in pre-season, with a lot of them coming from various centre of excellence programmes - Fearne Lazenby (Lincoln), Jess Burton (York), Elisha Robinson (Sheffield) and Demi Pringle (Leeds Ladies). We are also delighted to welcome back to the club Megan Hornby (Westella and Willerby) and Amy Wilson (South Cave), both players are now back to full fitness after spending a couple of years with lower league teams and have shown how much they have matured and improved as players.
"It is also fantastic news that Cauren Webb from Doncaster Belles has signed for us this season. Cauren had an injury a few years ago and which set her football career back, but she has worked extremely hard to be back fit again, so it will be great to see her back playing this season.
"We have played in two friendlies so far this season; our first one was a real tough test against higher league opposition in Huddersfield Town. We have played them for the last three years in a friendly and the first year they played us off the park with an embarrassing scoreline, last year we got beaten 4-2, but this year we managed a 2-1 victory, proving that the improvements at Hull City Ladies are evident. Last week we played Leicester City Women and came away with a lot of positives from the game after a convincing 4-1 win and a great hat-trick from our 17-year-old talented striker Misty Russell.
"We were delighted with our first season in the Premier League last year; to be fighting for promotion around Christmas time was an incredible achievement. This year we will now have an idea about the teams that we will be playing against and what their strengths are which we didn't have the luxury of last year.
"Our squad has strengthened in all areas for this season; we certainly have more experienced players, which we lacked last year so I am sure we will be a much improved side. The club has ambition to move up the leagues and we are certainly heading in the right direction and are looking forward to the season starting on 21st August."
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