Sophie Tudor believes the side’s confidence is high heading into Sunday’s tasty league clash with Huddersfield Town at Eastwood CFC.
The Reds come into the game off the back of two consecutive league wins over Sheffield FC and Derby County and along with two back to back clean sheets the team spirit is high. But Forest have already suffered defeat to the hands of Huddersfield earlier this season in the FA Women’s National League Cup. After leading the game 3-1 The Reds eventually made an early exit to the competition after falling to a late 4-3 loss and Tudor knows it’s going to shape up to be an interesting game.
She said: “First of all Huddersfield are a class outfit. I was impressed with their mental game at their ground, and that alone won them the game. 3-1 down and to comeback in that second-half to win was an achievement.
“So, this is going to be a tough match-up, but at home, confidence high, coming off the back of the Derby win and well, three points would put us right in the mix. Huddersfield had a disappointing second half versus Sunderland last week, so they are going to want to get back on track. I think it's going to be a fantastic game.”
Four weeks on from the last game between the sides and Tudor knows that The Reds are in much better shape to face the Yorkshire outfit.
“Every week we are getting to know each other a bit more, we are making significant leaps in getting used to a style of play,” Tudor explained.
“It's clear from the stats that we are fitter, but it is still about mental attitude and commitment because as a team we are not short of talent. You’ve only got to look at our front three, imagine trying to stop them scoring.”
After a tough start to the season Forest have hit great form in the month of September and the 19-year-old stated that she always knew that the results would come the side’s way.
Tudor said: “It's a great feeling to be finally picking up results, but I personally haven't doubted things will come together. This is a really tough league, and I think the results so far have shown that any team can beat any other on their day. We've been disappointed with the first couple of games, but we can't look back.
“The training is great, the set-up of the club is just fantastic, and we have a first-class coach in Andy Cook - if we maintain the correct mind-set, work hard and believe in how the boss wants us to play, we will be successful.”
Personally, Tudor has enjoyed an impressive run of games in Garibaldi as she has helped the side maintain back to back, well-deserved clean sheets. Tudor began the season playing centre-back along the Forest backline but a move into the midfield ahead of the game against Sheffield FC has seen her excel in the middle of the park.
Speaking about her move of position Tudor explained: “I've been very comfortable with the move forward as I've been in and around centre mid since I was 13-years-old. So, I know the position well. Mind you, I'd forgotten the amount of running involved, I've covered the yardage in the last two games."
Tudor featured for the full 90 minutes in the past two winning fixtures and after churning out two impressive performance she states that it was down to a team effort to pick up the six points.
“It's been a massive team effort. We've had two very different games. Against Sheffield we were at home under the lights, with great support and once we took the lead we settled down and controlled the tempo and game.
“Derby at Pride Park was a different challenge, it's the biggest game of the season, and with that level of pressure we needed to be more disciplined. We had to keep our heads and our shape, and personally I thought it was a very mature display... to the letter of what the boss (Andy Cook) wanted.
“We practiced all week denying them space between the lines, working as a unit, but looking to transition and attack quickly. Keeping that level of concentration during a game is mentally exhausting... one slip and they were in. We'll play more exciting football in games, but that was a very professional performance.”
Looking back ahead to this Sunday’s upcoming fixture at home Tudor shared her thoughts on why a win is key for The Reds across the course of the season.
She said: “We all know that confidence is 90% of the battle... and that builds with good performances and winning results. It's very early in the season, but a win at Eastwood in front of our great support will set us up for a promotional push that this club deserves.”