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Brighouse Town have made an excellent start to the season in FAWPL Northern Division One and they sit on top of the table following their 6-2 victory over Chester-le-Street Town on Sunday.
We talked to prolific Brighouse striker Jodie Redgrave, who admitted that being top is not too significant at this stage but is focused on maintaining the team's run which started in the latter half of last season:
WSS: Well done on reaching the top of the table, how does it feel to be there even at this early stage of the season?
JR: To be honest, we are under no illusions, the table doesn't really mean anything at this early stage. But for us, it does demonstrate our intentions going forward this season. It was crucial for us to gain points in the early start of the season. Last season we really struggled to get points on the board before Christmas, but then in the New Year we finished the season unbeaten in 12, with which we continue to be unbeaten in a competitive match since. We are by no means a finished article in terms of where we want to be, but we are certainly making positive steps towards achieving our goals. Team morale is high, we have signed some really positive players who have all contributed so far and we just want to keep the momentum going. Although the league table doesn't mean anything yet in terms of the season outcome, for the club we again continue to break history, as it is the first time Brighouse Town has been top of this league. We continue the momentum from last season's cup runs and for us it is really important that we continue to break history for the club and everyone who volunteers their time to be involved.
WSS: 6-2 away to Chester-le-Street, which is never an easy place to go, is an impressive victory. How good was the team's performance on the day?
JR: Going off the back of last season, Chester-le-Street, in my opinion were a really strong, physical side and like you say not the team you want to be playing after a long journey up North. They were very direct and had players with the ability to switch the ball quickly and shoot from range. They became our bogey team last season, we could never get the result we wanted against them, which is only credit to them. This time round, I think all our players were motivated to have rid of the bogey team mentality - I was certainly! The team's performance was outstanding. We travelled with 11 players which really was not ideal, however I think it enhanced team spirit even more, everybody worked for one another, our decision making was better than other games and something just clicked. Defensively, we know we need to remain switched on and stop conceding so many goals, as it is doing us an injustice. Going forward, I think we were excellent and our shooting fortunately paid off in this game.
WSS: Your three league matches have yielded a total of 23 goals so far, so presumably your matches have been good to watch as well?
JR: Yes definitely! If you want to see goals then I believe with the strike force we now have then we are the team to come and support. Like I say, we need to concede fewer, but if you like nail biting football then get yourself down to our home games at the Yorkshire Payments Stadium, St Giles Road, Brighouse.
WSS: You finished last season so well, have changes been made over the summer or has it been simply a case of maintaining that kind of form?
JR: I think in football, momentum is crucial. Building upon momentum from last season, keeping positive team spirits and morale, confidence in ourselves and each other, relaxing and being a team rather than a set of individuals has helped our form so far. Last season was an unbelievable season for all involved. We showed fantastic form in cup matches and managed to finish fifth in the league, which following our poor start to last season was very positive for us, and only something we can build on as I believe we are. Over the summer, we recruited some really good players who have only enhanced the quality of football we now play. We knew we needed players with ‘football brains', and the technical and tactical ability if we wanted to move forward as a club. So from my perspective I am really pleased with the signings we have made. We still require a couple of additions for the long term plans which hopefully we can add to later in the season.
WSS: You have been in tremendous form in front of goal but seven different players have already scored this season, how big a help is that to the team and to yourself?
JR: Well, for me, I can't thank them enough! Last season, fortunately I was in good form, but if I was to get injured or having an off game, it was a case of who is going to score now. I will say that Proudy scored 20 last season which really helped the team out, but we can't just rely on one or two players to produce the goods. We now have players in many different positions scoring and with the desire and confidence to put the ball in the back of the net. It means we don't become predictable against opposition and we now have greater dimension to our squad. That is why this season at Brighouse is so exciting!
WSS: This week you take on Hull City who are still unbeaten themselves, what sort of match are you expecting on Sunday?
JR: A very tough match. Hull are a physical team with great technical ability in their squad. They aren't a team which are going to roll over easily. I don't believe it will be a game where we score, they score and then that pattern continues throughout the match. It could be a one goal victory and we have to ensure that it is us who end up on top. Our decision making and communication will be crucial and we just have to go into the game as we have the others so far - relaxed but confident and building upon our start so far. I am confident in the squad to get something from the game. I am sure Hull will be looking to build on their performances from last season too, so it should be a challenging match, I am looking forward to it.
WSS: It's early days of course, but is there real belief that Brighouse can challenge for the title this season?
JR: As I say, we have set out our intentions early in the season. We do want to push for the title, who doesn't (???) but we will continue to focus on ourselves and not get caught up in what other teams are doing. As long as we grind the results out each week, then each week is a positive step in the right direction.
Our thanks to Jodie!
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