West Ham Ladies manager Julia Setford’s praise for new signings Hannah Gowland and Lily Mellors ahead of FA Cup clash

West Ham Ladies’ manager Julia Setford has lauded the impact of her new signings as the team prepare to take on Leeds United in the Fourth Round of the FA Women’s Cup.

The Hammers head into the game on the back of consecutive wins over Gillingham and London Corinthians, and will fancy their chances to progress in the competition.

New signings from Colchester United, Hannah Gowland and Lily Mellors have made an instant impact since arriving late last year and manager Setford couldn’t be happier with their progress.

“The two girls I brought in, I knew they were quality,” she said. “They’ve settled in well and really proved themselves.”

The two new recruits have really strengthened the Hammers side, according to their boss.

“Their finishing, especially Hannah’s, is second to none” the gaffer continued. “She’s a left-footed player and she brings a nice balance to the team; together with Lily’s vision, it’s really boosted our numbers and made us strong.”

The team’s recent form is particularly impressive given the frustrations they have faced of late, mainly down to the adverse weather conditions.

The Ladies have only been able to complete four games since November, but hopefully the worst of the bad weather is over now and the Leeds game will bring glorious sunshine and a third win on the trot for the in-form Irons, with more sparkling performances from the two new signings.

The Hammers have never lifted the trophy, nor even reached a final since its inauguration in 1971, and that will be sure to be something that manager Setford will want to put right this season.

With only two defeats so far in the league, the Hammers are also sitting pretty at fourth in the table – just five points off leaders Reading.

A fantastic seven match unbeaten run between September and October has been the highlight in the league for Setford’s side so far, but the most outstanding thing has been the Irons’ resistance to defeat and their “bouncebackability”.

By David Blackmore

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