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Derby County have been in fine form in recent weeks and on Sunday, they beat Burnley FC Women 1-0 for a third straight win which lifts them into the top three in the Northern Premier Division.
We talked to Derby midfielder Callan Barber, who was pleased with the result in beating Burnley and insisted they could yet have a say in the title race, as long as they can keep on winning:
WSS: Well done on a good win on Sunday, how pleased were you with the result against the team which started the day in second place?
CB: We knew going into the game that three points would be massive for us in terms of pushing up the table, and thankfully we were able to do that. We knew that Burnley would be a test, we faced them on the opening day of the season and were disappointed to come away with nothing, so to get the three points this time round was really pleasing.
WSS: The goal came early in the game but did you always feel confident from that point that you would win?
CB: We always set out to get an early goal and help settle the nerves. After that, I think we were comfortable for a long period of the game, but the longer the game goes on and you don't get that second goal to give you a cushion, you can start to get a bit nervy. Thankfully we managed to hold on take all three points.
WSS: That makes it three wins on the trot now in the league, the last two being against teams which had been above you in the table, do you think that the team is now finding its best form?
CB: I think we've never doubted that with the players we have in the squad, we can beat anyone in this league on our day. We probably didn't start the season as well as we'd wanted, and I think that was probably a combination of a few injuries, a bit of bad luck, and really us not being clinical enough as a team. The past few weeks have definitely felt like things are starting to click, and we're looking forward to building on this good form now.
WSS: Is that improved form mainly down to confidence or have a few alterations been made?
CB: I think it's just really a case of things starting to click. We have some brilliant players in our squad and wouldn't say we are ever short of confidence, but earlier in the season we weren't clinical enough and didn't take our chances. We've worked on that over the past couple of months, and have also added a few players to the squad, both of which are starting to pay off for us now.
WSS: This week you play host to Hull City in the league and a win would take you into second place. You beat Hull earlier in the season when you met, what kind of match are you expecting this time?
CB: We always know that facing Hull won't be easy. They'll provide a test for you physically, so we need to make sure we are switched on and ready to match them from the first minute. If we go into the game with the right mindset and start well, we'll be confident that with the quality we have we can take another three points and keep climbing the table.
WSS: Over the next few weeks, you have a run of away games including the quarter finals of the League Cup, when you go to Sunderland. Although a tough tie, do you see this as realistically your best chance of silverware?
CB: In this league, it probably doesn't get tougher than Sunderland away from home. We know it will be a tough game, but we'll approach it the same as we do any other game, with the added incentive of a place in the semi finals. If we can do that, it puts us in a great position to push for some silverware this season. We know that Sunderland have a pretty big lead in the league as it stands, but that doesn't mean we'll give up, and we'll keep giving everything to finish as high as we can in the league too.
WSS: Do you think you can still catch Sunderland and have a big say in the title race, as long as you can keep on winning?
CB: I don't think we can rule it out. The more we keep winning, we put pressure on Sunderland, and if they have one or two bad results we can be right back in it. There are a number of clubs in and around us at the moment who are all looking to do the same.
WSS: Derby County is a very ambitious club with aims on playing at a higher level, do you feel that the club is right on track to achieve that in the future?
Everything is in place behind the scenes at the club to step up to the next level. The professionalism of the club, the board and the staff means that all the hard work has been put in to ensure we're in a position to make that step up. It's up to us on the pitch now to go and make that happen!
Our thanks to Callan!
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