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Womens Premiership


03 Aug 2021
Derry City Women have been the outsiders in the Danske Bank Women’s Premiership in recent years, but forward Lauren Cregan believes the experience will stand them in good stead.
The Candystripes have lost 11 of their 12 league games to date this season but with the division set to be increased from six teams to eight, there will be no relegation from the top-flight.
That is important for Derry, who have been an ever-present at the top table since 2017 and next season is likely to provide them with more opportunities for points.
Cregan explained: “Every manager and team who has played us this season will acknowledge how much we have come on this season.
“We have managed to develop more of a playing style this season and break out of teams pressing high against us and hurt them.
“Having just six games in the league makes it so tough every week because virtually every side we are playing against us has multiple international players representing them.
“When the league expands by a further two games it will suit a lot and we are really looking forward to that format next season.”
The 23-year-old was the hero for Kevin McLaughlin’s side as she netted the winner in a home game against Sion Swifts earlier in the campaign - Derry’s first league victory in almost two years.
Cregan continued: “That game came at the right time for us, as we were not long off the back of a great pre-season and some really encouraging performances in the league.
“There has been a really good feeling in the camp this season - that has been missing in recent years and it makes a huge difference.
“We were so fired up for that win over Sion because it’s a derby game and the players are really familiar with each other, so it was a great feeling to score the winner in that game.
“We have been really frustrated and disappointed not to get more results since that as we have come close to more great results against Linfield and then Sion again.
“We take the positives from every game and try to work in our weaknesses - but we have had players isolating from Covid in recent weeks and that has hurt us.”
Next up for McLaughlin’s side are a home game against Linfield on Wednesday and with the Blues losing nine of their last 10 matches in all competitions, there is the opportunity for points.
Derry have lost both of their meetings against the Blues to date this campaign but did take the lead in both games. 
“We are looking to pick up points in this game,” Cregan added.
“We know they have had a tough run of fixtures recently like us, but we have learned a lot from our games against them this season.
“We really feel like this is a game where we can pick up a positive result and help kickstart our season.
“There have been so many games where we haven’t just quite managed to get over the line so we are hoping to put that right this week.”