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Claire Gooch is confident that Enfield Town can avoid going through a relegation battle in the Southern Division of the Premier League this season. The central defender told Women's Soccer Scene that progress ahead of the new season has gone well so far: "We've had quite an extensive pre-season which started in the first week of July and have got seven pre-season friendlies. We've retained most of the squad from last season and hopefully we can have a better start this time," she says.
Enfield avoided the drop on the last day of the season, with a 1-1 draw against Merthyr Tydfil which sent the South Wales side down instead. "Obviously last season was hard on the girls when you're travelling long distances and not getting results," admits Claire, "but we do feel that the second half of the season was more positive than the first. We pulled out some good results - we beat Wimbledon who were on an eight-match unbeaten run at the time - and we know on our day we can beat anyone but it's just trying to string results together, especially away from home.
"I think we've got a relatively experienced team, but not at this level - with our additions to the squad who have played at this standard and some of the youngsters coming through, hopefully we've got the right mix. I think we've just got to be a bit tougher mentally, especially in the last ten minutes holding on to games instead of throwing away three points in the last couple of minutes like we did at times last year."
So how does Claire think the Southern Division might pan out this season? "Teams like Chelsea and Wimbledon will definitely come into it (for the title). Hopefully we can go up and challenge a lot of the mid-table teams, the middle of the table was very tight - I think there was about five points separating six teams, so hopefully we can pull out some results against them. A couple of wins can push you right up the table! We're looking at mid-table and a bit more consistency, that's what we can aim for realistically and try and build for the future from then."
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