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Minsterbelles captain sets sights on league title

By Olly Wood | 7th October 2021

Skipper Nikki Brown “loving” life at York City after beginning her eighth season.

The Minsterbelles midfielder has her eyes set on what would be “one of my best achievements of my football career” in getting promoted this season.

Having captained the club for the first-time last year Brown is now looking forward to a full season and the chance to achieve the goals set out last year.

She said: “I think we’re really lucky we have quite a big squad and a really strong squad, I think there’s several players in each position that can easily start every week.

“I think we’ve probably played the hardest teams or the ones we thought were going to make the toughest start, the fact we’re still unbeaten is pretty amazing but that being said we can’t take it for granted.

“We’ve got a lot of trips up to the North East and they’re always tough games so I think if we can keep the squad together, keep the size of the squad, with the players we’ve got then I think we’ll be in good contention for winning the league.”

It hasn’t all been plain sailing however for Brown at City, a couple of years ago a torn ACL almost ended her career in the game.

She added: “In the last game of the season I tore my ACL, I had an operation, the whole of the next season I was out, the following year I tried to return but I wasn’t ready I didn’t trust my knee, maybe I’d fallen out of love a bit with football after the injury, I didn’t know if I would return.

“After a bit more time, coming back for pre-season and having Chris Hamilton there, he made me want to come back and play and then I just sort of forgot about the injury or just maybe mentally felt more confident with it and went from there.”

However, her comeback was quickly cut short by the pandemic, which was a massively difficult time for everyone, from a football perspective it really disrupted what was looking like a promising season for the Minsterbelles with promotion on the horizon.

Brown added: “There was a good buzz around trying to get promoted/win the league and then for that to just stop, that was pretty difficult because I think we were just getting into our flow, the same as me returning from injury and for it to stop was frustrating.

“Promotion was the target last season, when Chris came in, he brought a whole different host of people, players and energy. He’s been really vocal about that (promotion) being the mission, I think as players, we’re all of that mindset.

“To do it this year would be fantastic, I think we’ve been in this league for quite a while now so it’s nice to have that new energy and new confidence, hopefully we can deliver.”

As much as achieving promotion is a goal for the club and for Brown this season, just playing and enjoying her football is the minimum of what she’s hoping for this campaign.

“I’m absolutely loving it so hopefully I can play as many minutes as I can, stay injury free, I have also set myself a little personal target of trying to score more goals, as a midfielder, I want to get into those attacking positions and scoring more goals to help the team really.”

Last Monday City learned their fate for the third qualifying round of the Women’s FA Cup, a home draw against Newcastle United, an enticing tie with the prize of getting to the official first round.

Speaking on her team’s chances this year, she said: “I don’t think we’ve ever got to the first round properly; I know it’s tough, we’ve drawn a really tough side in Newcastle, we have already played them in pre-season, and it didn’t go our way but I guess you’re always hoping that you can do a job on the day.

“Obviously you watch it (FA Cup) on the BBC growing up and you know the magic of the F.A. Cup, seeing the men’s lower league teams beating the teams in the football league system makes you believe that it’s a pretty magical cup.”

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