New Watford Ladies goalkeeper Cherie Rowlands believes the future is bright at Broadwater as she prepares to take on the challenge of filling retired stalwart Lauren Davey’s gloves.
Davey decided the 2014 season would be her last after more than a decade at the club has been tempered by injury, but manager John Salomon moved quickly to appoint her as his assistant manager.
Former Arsenal Ladies and London Bees goalkeeper Rowlands will be the new face between the posts for the Golden Girls, and she believes she has plenty of experience to offer as Watford look to improve upon last season’s seventh-placed finish in the FA Women’s Super League 2.
“Our aim is for a top-four position, which we certainly have enough talent to achieve,” she said.
“Last season we were unlucky with injuries to key players, but we have come back revitalised. The girls are training really well and are raring to go.
“I spent quite a lot of my time injured last season but this season I want to bring the composure and confidence I have in myself into the team.
“I’m trying to be a role model for the team as I’m one of their eldest players, and I hope my experience and confidence can rub off on them.
“I’ve been in the game a very long time, so I can see when a club is doing the right things. The training has been brilliant and we have specific ones catered to our own needs, which is another good thing.”
Rowlands added:“The staff are more determined than ever and you can see evidence of that in the training sessions and what they have been doing to prepare for games.”
Watford have been busy strengthening in the close season, with Anneka Nuttall joining from London Bees, while 18-year-old goalkeeper Rebecca Bull has been signed from Chelsea’s development squad and Yasmin Poole moves from Lewes.
But Rowlands believes former attacking midfielder Dawn Mallett, snapped up from London Bees, will be the one to get the fans off their seats.
“I’ve known Dawn Mallett from my time with her playing for the Bees. She can be a very exciting player and is able to create chances with regularity,” Rowlands added.
“If she adds some consistency to her game she could potentially be devastating, but it’s still a great signing for the club.”
Davey will be the most notable absentee next term. But Rowlands knows how important she is to the club and what she can still offer in a management role.
“It was a big blow for her to have to retire but she is Watford through and through,” she said.
“As long as I’ve known her she has been involved with the club in some capacity and the players really respect her.
“She plays a pivotal role in the training and the match day preparation. She has a great rapport with the other players, they all look up to her and respect her just as much on the pitch, as they do off it.”
Watford’s opening home game against Aston Villa will be played at Vicarage Road on March 28, and this is a first for The Golden Girls.
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