Beth England says she is embracing her new midfield role at the club and insists the team’s number one aim is to win promotion, writes Ruth Dacey.
The Belles have crucially managed to keep onto a strong core squad of players despite last year’s demotion from the FA Women’s Super League’s top tier.
And that includes striker England, who will this season take up an unnatural central midfield role.
And she believes the side have what it takes to clinch promotion from the recently-formed FAWSL2 under the guidance of new boss Gordon Staniforth.
“It’s a brand new start for the team and big changes have been made with Gordon coming in,” the 19-year-old said.
“He has made a big impact, including changing the formation from last season, and I’m now playing in a position I’ve never played before but I can really see that my game is improving and developing.
“We’ve had an excellent pre-season and after that win against Villa there is no reason why we can’t be pushing all the way and try and go straight back up.
“There are a lot of good sides in the league and I can imagine Reading and Sunderland in particular being tough fixtures, but really the league is anyone’s for the taking - but as long as it’s ours, that’s all that matters.”
The forward-thinking midfielder, an England U19 international, is also predicting big things to come from Auckley-based striker Jess Sigsworth.
“Her speed is so hard to play against and she is very forceful up front with a natural striker’s instinct,” said England.
“Kasia Lipka in midfield is also hitting top form and is very on-point this season. I think there is a lot more to come from her.
“Crucially we also have a fantastic backline, with the likes of Lyndsey Cunningham and Lauren Cresswell, so we do really have a great squad which will be hard to beat.”