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Watford have made a very promising start to the new season in the Southern Division and Helen Lander has once again been at the forefront as they sport a 100% record.
The Hertfordshire side moved into second place in the table after recording a 3-2 success away to Barnet on Sunday and Helen felt that, on the day, the margin of victory might have been greater. "It was a good performance, but we could have scored more," Helen told Women's Soccer Scene. "We played some good football in the first half but relaxed a bit after the break. The tempo of our game dropped, maybe because it was a very hot day."
Helen topped the division's goalscoring charts with 31 goals last season and she is already among the front runners this time around with five to her name, putting her level at the top with Barnet's Beth Curtis. Has she found herself a marked woman this season? "Very much so," she replies. "The expectation is there now. People were telling me during the summer that I have to do it all over again, so the pressure is on now! But the signing of Ellen Maggs has might take the pressure off me as opposing sides will be watching her very closely.
"I haven't set a goal target this time. After last season, I'll just see what happens - I don't expect to reach that target again."
Since last season, Watford's profile has increased enormously with the coup of landing Sian Williams as their new manager. "As soon we heard Sian's name was suggested for the job, we began hoping that she would come," admits Helen. "When she came to training and we knew it was happening, it was a great feeling. People know Sian's name and now they know we are doing well, which all helps.
"We have tried out new formations but we are flexible with the players that we have. Training is a lot different to what it was before but everyone is enjoying it, any changes Sian has made have been smooth ones."
Hot on the heels of Sian Williams' arrival came three players with England experience, headed by full international Ellen Maggs. "Ellen has done well," says Helen. "She has got back to full fitness and looks a very good player. Emma Thomas has been superb in the middle, she has so much energy and hits the ball so well, and Lisa Burrows has settled in very well."
Watford still have most of last season's squad and a rising young player in Josie North. "She did well last season but was outstanding in pre-season friendlies," Helen says. "Josie is a versatile player who can play in a number of positions, she has been really good this season and is full of confidence."
This week, Watford make the trip to Brighton & Hove Albion. "It finished 7-3 last season so it might be one to watch," smiles Helen. "They play on a big, flat pitch which will hopefully suit our game but Brighton are an unpredictable side, there always seem to be a lot of goals in their games, so we will need to be on our guard.
"We were an unfancied team last season and that probably helped us until later in the season when teams wanted to beat us and we dropped a few points. We got so close to finishing top last year, so from the outset our aim has to be to win the league this time. Portsmouth have had an outstanding start and are always up there, Bristol City are a tough team to play and are very strong so they will be two of our main rivals. We mustn't be complacent and work hard to win our matches - we are confident, but not over confident."
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