Dan Turner insists Everton Ladies possess “the best squad we have had for a while” with the strong competition for places creating a healthy atmosphere among the Blue Girls.
The Toffees skipper and her teammates are preparing to welcome West Ham United to Southport’s Merseyrail Community Stadium on Sunday, kick off 2pm, looking to bounce back from a frustrating 3-3 draw with Brighton last time out.
Everton led 3-1 with 20 minutes remaining, only to concede twice to drop two points against the WSL newcomers.
But they have the opportunity to right the wrongs of that game against another new side competing in the top flight when they take on West Ham on Sunday.
Turner has been at Everton for 11 years, breaking into the first team squad back in 2014, and believes the current crop of players is among the best the Toffees have had in recent years. And that, she says, is cause for optimism around the Club.
“There is a good spirit within the group,” admitted Turner. “Collectively, we feel like we have the best squad we have had for a while.
“That makes for a lot of competition for places and there is a fight for every spot in the team.
“Everybody knows that, and it pushes you on even more to work hard in training, improve and make sure you have a place in that starting line-up.
“But there is a real sense of belief around the squad over what we feel we can achieve this season.”
Turner has been struggling with a minor injury in recent weeks, only making the bench for the 0-0 draw against Chelsea before missing the game against Brighton.
However, the chance to watch the team play from the sidelines has given her a different perspective of the evolution of the Blue Girls this season, with coach Andy Spence introducing a new system.
Turner has seen plenty to suggest the fresh formation is starting to reap its rewards after a period of adaptation, pointing to the draw with WSL champions Chelsea as their standout display so far.
“We talk about the draw with Chelsea as our best performance of the season,” she added. “The way we implemented the game plan was excellent and the work rate was unbelievable. That went for every single player, including the substitutions we made.
"We fully deserved that result from the effort all the girls put in. Our discipline, too, was outstanding. Watching it from the bench was a pleasure.
“It is clear to everyone now that we are playing with three at the back. We have played that in the past but it is still fairly new to a lot of us. It does take time to adapt to a new formation and how we want to play. But the more games we play, the better we are becoming at it.
“We have had to make tweaks here and there, particularly in a three-game week, but we are starting to implement it now and it’s looking good.”
Watch Dan and the rest of the Everton Ladies take on West Ham at Southport in Sunday October 28, kick-off 2pm. Tickets are available online here