02:21PM, Tuesday 21 September 2021
It has been an encouraging start to the FA Women’s National League season for Maidenhead United with seven points taken from their first four games and for Magpies right-back Nicole Barrett it has been a goal-laden beginning to the new campaign.
The Maidenhead defender has four goals to her name already in League and Cup and that form has even surprised Barrett herself: “As a full back I’ve never scored more than 4 goals in an entire season let alone this early on. I don’t set targets, I’ve always believed an assist is just as important as the goal.”
In the last couple of games, new manager Ryan Taylor has used the dependable Barrett in a more advanced role. Against Poole, Nicole played at right wing back and scored a brace.
She started in that position against Tier Three Bridgwater in the FAWNL Cup last time out before Taylor switched Barrett into central-midfield at half time.
Within three minutes she had another goal to her name. Despite her scoring form, Barrett has no preference as to where she plays in Taylor’s team, as she explained: “I’ve always had an attacking mind set and although I am a full back, I love to make the overlapping runs and put balls into the box. I feel wing back gives me more freedom and I really enjoy it. I’ve never played centre midfield before but the girls in the middle, especially Vicky (Carvill), helped me find my feet and I got a goal last weekend so I can’t complain. Honestly I just want to play and I’m happy to play wherever Ryan would like me to in order to help my team.”
Perhaps being twice named as captain in the absence of long-serving Amy Saunders this season has given Barrett an extra boost, but she has taken the armband modestly: “I have captained a couple of teams in the past. I love this team and of course I’m always happy to step up when Amy’s not there, she’s taught me a lot and she’s a brilliant captain! It’s very evident when she’s not on the pitch.” Barrett also has praise for the new man in the dug-out: “It is always going to be hard bringing a new manager in. Nev (Saroya) had a massive impact on this team and me as a player, he was hands down the best coach I’ve ever had so it was always going to be hard to adjust to change, but I am really proud of the team for picking each other up and staying focused. I think we have a lot of potential under Ryan and I’m excited for the rest of the season.”
Barrett and her team mates have an opportunity to showcase their skills at York Road this Sunday 26th when they entertain Cheltenham Town, 2pm. A victory in this encounter would ensure that the Magpies leapfrog a Robins side who are currently sitting in second place in the division.