Notts County Ladies and England defender Laura Bassett says her side are ‘raring to go’ ahead of the new FA Women’s Super League season.
The Lady Magpies begin their new campaign against Manchester City Women on Wednesday night and are aiming to follow up on a successful season where they surprised a lot of people by reaching both domestic cup finals.
With a new look squad in place, Bassett says the aim is to go even further than they managed in 2015.
“It has to be,” she said.
“Every season it has to be about getting more points and finishing higher in the league. We gained so much momentum early in the season getting ourselves to the FA Cup final and then because we didn’t deliver we lost our way a little in the league. Then the Continental Cup came around and we decided to focus on that and we managed to get to the final again.
“As a club we’re very resilient, we’re very focused and when we put our minds to it, we’ll get what we want but we know in finals anything can happen – that’s football! This season we want to focus on getting some silverware on the table, we have to be determined and we have to finally prove to ourselves that we’ve got that potential and that we’re hard to beat at Notts County. We also want to thank our fans and all those people who work so tirelessly every year too.”
Unlike some of the bigger teams in the FA WSL, Notts County achieved great things last season on a very tight budget and with a team full of part-time players, including some of their England internationals.
In terms of affiliation with the men’s teams, Notts County are the lowest ranked with their male equivalents currently languishing in League 2 of the men’s football pyramid, and Bassett has nothing but praise for the job manager Rick Passmoor has done.
She said: “That’s what Rick does very well, he recruits very experienced and solid players.
“He brings in people who are characters off the pitch that deliver a good aura around training. It’s always been about the team and that’s where it can count at the tougher parts of the season. It’s a great set of girls, there’s nobody that doesn’t get along and everyone’s pulling in the same direction. It makes you want to work that little bit harder on the pitch for each other.”
2015 was a huge year for women’s football in England but it was a bigger whirlwind for Bassett than many of her team mates.
A bronze medal at the World Cup was topped off by leading her Notts County side out at Wembley less than a month later, but it was tinged by hitting the headlines for her own goal which saw England miss out on a place in the World Cup final.
“Maybe I still need to sit down and make that list of all the small things that happened,” she laughed.
“That list would be pretty good when you think about it – Wimbledon, Downing Street etc. If Carlsberg did years I think it would take some beating in terms of changing people’s perceptions about what we do.”
Bassett was again away with England last month for the first ever SheBelieves Cup in Florida, whilst the Lionesses failed to pick up a win she says the tougher games are now better preparing players for the new FA WSL season.
“Obviously for the last few years we’d been going to the Cyprus Cup which had kind of served its purpose for us. Your clubs obviously don’t want to let you go in pre-season but for a player, to go away to America really pushes you on physically and it really does kick you on into the new season now.”
And that season begins in the toughest shape possible – Manchester City. But Bassett’s looking forward to getting back on the pitch when it does finally kick off again.
“Everyone at Notts is so raring to go. You speak to anyone in the team who hasn’t been away on international duty and you can tell they’re all raring to go and that the first game just needs to come around quicker, so yeah definitely we’re all ready to go next week.”