Nottingham Forest Women get their 2020-21 FA Women’s National League North campaign underway on Sunday afternoon and Lyndsey Harkin states this new season has been ‘a long time coming.’
The Reds are set to take on West Bromwich Albion Women away from home this weekend and Harkin looks ahead to the season getting underway.
She said: “It’s been a long time coming and we can’t wait to get started. I’ve missed that matchday feeling. We’ve worked very hard over pre-season so it is exciting to finally back to competitive games.”
The Reds head into the weekend’s clash on the back of a strong pre-season campaign where the side picked up crucial match minutes. Forest enjoyed three victories from their five fixtures and Harkin explains how important those pre-season games were for the team ahead of their opening match.
“I think we are in a good place,” Harkin said. "The girls have looked fit and sharp in training and the tempo has been high too. We’ve tried to implement different things in the friendlies and it’s given us a chance to gain some much-needed match fitness after such a long break.
“A good thing to come from the pre-season games is the number of different goal scorers. We’ve had goals from all areas of the pitch so hopefully we can continue that into the season too.”
Nine new faces joined Harkin and the rest of her teammates this summer as manager Andy Cook strengthened his squad across all areas and the Forest captain believes that the new signings has made the team ‘stronger’.
Harkin said: “All the new signings have been class. They’ve come into the squad and not only added quality and depth, but they’ve all fitted into the group nicely too. Each one of the new girls has made us stronger.
“The competition for places is phenomenal really, but we are pushing each other in training to improve each time. It is a great group to be a part of.”
Coming home with all three points is The Reds’ aim on Sunday but Harkin knows that they face a tough fight against The Baggies.
“Everyone wants to get off to a winning start and we are no different,” she explained. “West Brom are a good side though so it will be a tough match. We never actually got to play them last season but they’ve showed in their results that they can compete in this league. West Brom I’m sure will be well up for it. We know that we will need to perform to our best to get three points.”
Finishing top of the table at the end of the season with promotion secured is ever player in the Garibaldi’s ultimate goal but Harkin knows this won’t come easy.
She said: “I think it’s a case of taking each game and week as it comes. We have huge potential in this squad so I know if we believe in ourselves, put the graft in and perform to our best then we will be challenging near the top of the table. We know how tough this league can be so it’s not something that’s going to be easy but we are up for the challenge.”