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Women's Football News
Stoke City have been in superb form in recent weeks and their 4-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, their fifth in a row in the league, has taken them into third place, six points behind leaders Middlesbrough who they are due to face this week.
We talked to Stoke captain Meg Bowyer, who was pleased overall with the display in beating Wolves and the team's winning run, whilst not yet ruling themselves out of the Northern Division title race:
WSS: Well done on a good win at Wolves on Sunday, do you feel that the scoreline reflected the team's performance on the day?
MB: It's always good to get three points, especially on home turf and to make it a fifth consecutive win was great so yes, we're happy! I think the scoreline did reflect the performance on the day - some parts of the game we were unplayable but other parts of the game we switched off. In the end we were clinical when it mattered and I think we deserved the three points.
WSS: The two early goals gave you a great start but just how important was the goal on the stroke of half time by Hannah Keryakoplis?
MB: That was an important goal - it meant we could go in at half time with a bit of breathing space and made the manager's (Steve Swanwick) half time team talk a lot easier! We knew when we came back out for the second half we had the advantage and they would have to break us down to get anything out the game. This is something we've worked on recently and I'm happy we managed to keep them out in the second half!
WSS: That makes it five league wins in a row now, and you are level on points with second placed Huddersfield. Has there been any particular reason for the upsurge in form?
MB: I think hard work, pride and determination is a big thing that contributes to our form, the girls want to beat anyone put in front of them. The strength in depth we have in this squad is something other teams don't have, we have quality on and off the field so no matter who plays, we know they have enough quality to get the job done for the team. We have also had two new coaches that have come in, Tim Dudding and Tom Davies (formerly of Wolves). These two have helped us massively - training is better, the tempo is better and as a result the girls are playing better. So, there are numerous factors our form has picked up but the main thing is everybody wants the same outcome - to win!
WSS: It was a good day all round for the club with the reserves reaching the League Cup Final, how pleased is everyone with that achievement?
MB: We're delighted for our reserves! But it's nothing more than they deserve, they're the best reserve squad we've ever had at Stoke so everyone is rooting for them in the final!
WSS: This week you take on league leaders Middlesbrough, presumably you will approach that game with a lot of confidence?
MB: We don't fear them being league leaders, it's something that we relish. We want their position so we will be seeking all three points as well always aim for. That being said, we will need to be on top of our game to get anything out of Middlesbrough who are top of the table on merit.
WSS: Middlesbrough won when you met earlier in the season but, without giving too much away, do you feel you have learnt from that match?
MB: We're a much different side to then and on a far better run of form than earlier in the season. We will hopefully use the confidence we've built the past few weeks in this game and come away with the win!
WSS: Do you think that you still have a chance of winning the title?
MB: I would never rule us out of a title as we are the in-form team - we are the team everyone doesn't want to play at the moment and I want that to carry on. We would need to rely on a lot of results going our way from other teams though, so we will have to wait and see what happens! All we can do is keep winning games.
WSS: Stoke City have continually improved over the last few years, how big is the potential at the club for the future?
MB: We have three teams at Stoke now, the first team, the reserves and a development team. Each team is doing very well! The potential of the young players is unbelievable, the future of Stoke City Ladies in their hands will only be a positive thing - I can't wait to see how they develop into first team players with how technically good they are already!
Our thanks to Meg!
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