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Keeleigh Savage has been amongst the goals during the early weeks of the campaign and the Rochdale striker is confident that her team can compete well in the Northern Division this season.
Promoted from the Northern Combination at the end of last season, Rochdale were beaten in their opening two games but two subsequent victories have taken them into fourth place. "We had a shaky start at first," Keeleigh told Women's Soccer Scene. "We were getting used to playing as a team at this level.
"Now we've got a couple of wins under our belts, we are looking forward to our next games with confidence."
Keeleigh has played a big part so far in Rochdale's new adventure and she is currenly the league's leading scorer with six goals in four games. "I've played at this standard before and done quite well," she admits. "I've had a good start and I hope I can continue it."
Rochdale were handed a tough start to the season with an opening game against Leicester City, one of the fancied teams. "We knew it would be tough as Leicester are a good side, but we put in a good performance and only lost 3-2," Keeleigh recalls. "We then lost to Coventry and our heads went down, we conceded some late goals.
"However our next game was a local derby with Preston and the whole team was up for it. The fact that it was a derby helped us as we wanted to get one over them. We were on fire in that game and it was great to pick up our first victory."
Rochdale's last game was a difficult trip to Newcastle Utd but they recorded their best result to date, returning home with a 2-0 victory. "Not many teams go up there and win," says Keeleigh. "They are a big team with good players and everyone was happy on the bus home! We played really well in the first half and we found ourselves playing against the win after the break. The conditions weren't the best and we were under pressure for the first twenty minutes but we managed to cope and seal the win.
"We need to work on our defending and improve it after the first two games. We've worked hard on it in training and it has paid off at the end of the day."
This week, Rochdale face a return meeting with Preston North End in their final group match in the Premier League Cup. "We need to win," admits Keeleigh. "If we put in a half decent performance we can certainly win the game. Curzon's draw with Blackburn hasn't helped our cause but we know what we have to do."
Looking beyond the next game, Keeleigh insists that Rochdale are looking towards the long term for the club. "At the minute, we're just looking to stay in the league and get used to the opposition," she says. "A couple more wins for us would keep us safe for the next few weeks.
"The Northern Division is always close and this year will be no different. The main challengers should be Manchester City who are a good side but if we stay up, we can challenge next year. We've not got the best pitch in the league but we are getting used to it now.
"We've adapted quicker than I thought we would, because it is a big jump from the Northern Combination. The team has bonded well and got used to the league, we also have a good team spirit which helps.
"The organisation of the team has worked well. We tried a different formation and the team has evolved with it, we are more comfortable now. We are more confident now and feel we can compete with the big teams.
"Personally I am looking to reach double figures this season but as long as I play well and the team wins matches, that is the most important thing. I have done well so far and the team has helped, especially Chantelle Parry who is our playmaker and a really good player, she has had a good start to the season."
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