INFLUENTIAL midfielder Jo Potter believes there is every reason for Birmingham City Ladies to feel confident as they prepare for the start of the new WSL1 season.
Thirty-year-old Potter was a key figure in the Blues side which finished third last season as they were pipped to the title on the final day by Liverpool and she believes, with the team another year older and wiser, that this campaign could yield silverware for this exciting City outfit.
Potter said she and England team-mate Karen Carney were relishing the responsibility of again being role models for the younger members of the squad and says the addition of Alex Windell and Freda Ayisi to the ranks would provide a big boost to the team’s ambitions.
“Last season is behind us now and we are all determined to use the disappointing end as extra motivation this time around,” said Potter. “It adds fuel to the fire and our younger players in particular will hopefully take invaluable experience from it.
“The aim this season has to be to win silverware, whether it’s the league, FA Cup or Continental Cup.
“To think we came so close to winning the title and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League as a part-time outfit against many sides who are full-time says a lot for what we achieved and more importantly can go to achieve in the future now we have made the switch to full-time training.”
Potter and her team-mates have been back in pre-season training for eight weeks now and Potter – currently away on England duty at the Cyprus Cup – said she could already see important signs of progress before a ball is even kicked competitively this season.
“You can see the difference the extra training has made, without a doubt,” added the playmaker.
“The tempo has improved, as have our fitness levels, and we have to be confident this will stand us in good stead.
“The new signings are very exciting too. We try to add one or two new faces rather than a raft of new additions and in Alex and Freda we have brought in two quality players.
“Alex is a box to box midfielder who can provide good cover at right back and Freda will bring much-needed extra firepower. She’s physically strong and has great technical ability and it’s exciting to look at what we achieved last season without these two so, add them to the mix, and it’s great for us.”
Potter, who has played in three FA Women’s Cup finals – including Blues’ triumph of 2012 – is also relishing an exciting summer with England, who will be in action in the World Cup in Canada (June 6 to July 5).
After a seven-year absence from the England team, Potter was recalled by coach Mark Sampson for a friendly with Sweden in August 2014 and she scored her second goal for England in September 2014 during a 10-0 World Cup qualifying win in Montenegro.
Having started the recent 1-0 defeat against USA, who are world ranked second, Potter is eyeing a successful set of performances in the Cyprus Cup, which acts as a World Cup warm-up and began this week.
“It was a great feeling to start against the USA and it’s been excellent being back involved with England,” added Potter, speaking before departing for Cyprus.
“Hopefully we can win the Cyprus event and pick up some momentum before the World Cup and I’ll be buzzing if I’m selected to go to Canada.”