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“We’re looking to win the league next year” – Forest Green Rovers Women striker Charlie Rowlands assesses Greens’ campaign so far and looks ahead to next season

Forest Green Rovers Women striker Charlie Rowlands says the team are feeling confident ahead of Sunday’s game against Marine Academy Plymouth.

The Greens have three games left in the South West Regional Premier Division, and are one point behind Royal Wootton Bassett Town, currently sitting in sixth place, but with Wootton Bassett having played all of their games, Tom Needham’s side are poised to seal a top-half finish in the 10-team league.

Rowlands said: “It’s a big game on Sunday and we’re really up for it. We’re ready to fight for the top half of the table.

“The mood in the camp is really good and we’re in positive spirits. We’re using the time between games to train, learn a lot and go over the things that we maybe need to work on with a bit more intensity.”

Rowlands is Rovers’ top scorer on 10 goals, and is happy with her performances on a personal level this season. She said: “I’m happy to hit double figures but I’m never satisfied. I think it’s a good place to be but I’d like to get a few more the end of the season. I’m pleased with how it’s gone and I’ve fitted into the team really well.

“[Previous manager] Chris [Hicks] gave me such a boost of confidence and gave me the ability to score as many goals as possible. Having players around me like I’ve got makes it really easy for me.

“We’re happy with how we’ve done. When you look at the bigger picture and remember we’ve jumped up to a new division with teams we’ve not played before and we’ve got players who haven’t played together for very long, you look at that and think we’ve done really well.

“We’ve got some feedback from other teams saying we’re the best team they’ve faced technically and tactically and that gives us so much positivity going forward into next season.”

Having only been promoted to the fifth-tier at the start of this season, Rovers are continuing to set their sights on another promotion and are already looking ahead to the new campaign.

Rowlands said: “We don’t want to wish away the rest of this season, but we’re starting to have discussions as a group on how we’re looking to win the league next year.

“We want to start climbing the leagues because we’ve got the ability and we’ve got the talent. The backing from the men’s side means it’s going to come naturally for us to start doing that.”

The Greens have attracted plaudits for their enterprising style of play this season, and Rowlands says the passing style helps the players go out there and do their thing: “The style of play is something that means we’ve got a clear game plan. That makes it easier as a group of players because we know what we’re going out there to do and all of us individually know our roles.

“When we string together a 20-pass play and it ends with a tap-in five yards from the goal line, the satisfaction of knowing we’ve passed our way through a team is a really good feeling.”

Looking ahead to the long trip on Plymouth on Sunday, Rowlands appreciates it will be a difficult game even though her side won the reverse fixture comfortably.

She said: “We’re not going to go into it naive knowing we beat them 6-0. We go into every game with the same mentality but we have the sense that we know we can win.”

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