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Charley Wilson established herself as one of the leading goalscorers outside the top flight last season, and she will be aiming for more this time around. The young Portsmouth striker grabbed 15 goals for her side in their first season in the Premier League and exclusively told Women's Soccer Scene that she is confident that Pompey can do well this time around.
How have Portsmouth's pre-season preparations been going? "They've been going quite well, it's been difficult with the girls having breaks but we'll soon get back into it," says Charley. "We've had a few training sessions so far and a couple of friendlies. We didn't do too badly against Fulham, things didn't go our way but we pushed and pushed so hard and could have got a goal but they were just too good for us. Today (against Bristol Rovers) we didn't play very good football and didn't link as a team but that will come with experience and a bit more training."
Portsmouth finished just below mid-table in a very tight Southern Division last term, and Charley feels that they can build on that this time around. "Last season, we just wanted to stay up but this time we're going to do a bit more physical work and be fitter, practice our set pieces and we'll be a bit higher than mid-table. Third place maybe - no, we're going to win it!" she laughs.
"I think it will be more open this season, Southampton Saints may have lost a few players but they'll still be up there. Wimbledon are a good team and so are Millwall but they'll all be battling to get that top place. I think we can do it - the girls think they can as well and we'll keep pushing ourselves."
But undoubtedly the two biggest games on the fixture list for Portsmouth are the South Coast derby matches against Southampton Saints. "Every player in the Portsmouth side is always up for a game with Southampton!" admits Charley. "I know every player can't play well every game but against Southampton they make themselves want it. There's always a rivalry and it's always that bit more important - I know it shouldn't be but against Southampton it is!"
So what will be Charley's own aims for this season, and maybe beyond? "My target is to get a few more goals this season and, also, I fell over a lot in the penalty box last season and I'm going to try and stay on my feet a bit more this time!
"I'll always keep pushing myself to get that bit better, score more goals and keep working hard. I would love to play for England."
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