The Everton Women squad returned from the international break with a spring in their step and perhaps a point to prove.
Two tests in quick succession for the squad, a trip to London to face Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup, followed by another away day four days later to face Aston Villa. Both of which the squad passed with flying colours.
One of the positives taken from the two fixtures was two clean sheets on the bounce, with defender Megan Finnigan at the heart of the defence in both encounters.
It represented an important achievement for the Academy graduate, it what has been a challenging campaign.
“It’s been a difficult season for me,” she said in an interview with evertonfc.com.
“The first half of the campaign I probably wasn’t dealing with the situation in the best way that I could.
“I’ve essentially went from one extreme to another, having played a lot of minutes last season to then limited game time this year.
“The thing for me is I want my teammates to say, ‘She’s a good teammate, she always works hard'.
“I turn up to training every day to give 100 per cent because one, I’m fighting to get into the team. And two, I want to make training as competitive as possible.
“I want to push the other defenders in the team because it will help me develop.
“Since we returned from Christmas, I feel that I have been training consistently well.
“I’ve got my opportunities recently through injuries, but I feel that I have been pushing for an opportunity for a while now.
“I’m going to carry on doing that because it’ll make me a better player, but most importantly it’ll make the team better, too.
“It’s a really challenging year for us as a team and for myself, personally.
“In the midst of the difficult moments, I’m always just trying to focus on improving myself where possible.
“The opportunity to play is always important for me and I will always be looking for us to get those three points.”
This season has been one of personal reflection for the young defender.
She explains how she looked to return to the basics of her game and has since seen an improvement in her performance levels and confidence.
“There have been a lot of things the squad have had to deal with this season and it’s been difficult,” Finnigan added.
“It’s easy to get wrapped up in that and I probably did to be honest.
“I had factors going on outside of football that I probably let affect my performance.
“Once you go back to the fundamentals and begin to build up some confidence again you can see other areas improve.
“Nowadays, I get a buzz off a good training session, getting minutes on the pitch.
“All the little things help to improve your confidence and I feel like I’m getting back to the player that I was last season.
“This season will be a really defining one for me.
“It’s definitely been the most challenging.
“This is my first season that I’ve experienced a prolonged time out of the starting XI. That’s football, it unfortunately happens sometimes.
“From a different perspective, I’m quite lucky that I’m 23 years of age and only experienced this now.
“It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself but ultimately you need to look at yourself and see where you need to improve.
“I knew that I had to do better, and I feel like I’m doing that now.
“Going forward in my career I think this will help me because this may happen again, but I’ll be a lot better equipped to deal with that and be able to bounce back quicker than I have this season.
“Right now, I feel like I’m in a good place in terms of my own performance and the level that I’m at.”
Victory at Aston Villa on Wednesday was just the beginning of a hectic month for the Blues squad.
Five games remain in March with a visit from Leicester City the next challenge for Everton upon their return to Walton Hall Park on Saturday.
“It’s a very busy month for us, that’s what we like though,” Finnigan added.
“I’ll be ready if and when any opportunity comes my way to play and do my best for the team.
“In the meantime, I’ll continue to work to the best of my ability in training and give the coaches a tough decision to make when it comes to team selection.
“As a team, this is a big opportunity for us to change our momentum and hopefully pick up some good results.
“Everyone is going to be needed as this is going to be a physically demanding month.”