Women. Hard work has got us this far, says Barker

Alternative Commentary: Magpies stars look back on strong season
11 Apr 24

Katie Barker scored the goal which clinched Newcastle United Women's last promotion just under a year ago; now she and her Magpies team-mates are potentially 90 minutes away from making history by securing back-to-back league titles

United need just three points from their remaining three league games to secure the FA Women's National League Northern Premier Division title, but they'll be looking to wrap it up at home on Sunday against Huddersfield Town Women.

The Magpies won the FAWNL Division One North title on the final day of last season with a 2-0 win at Barnsley Women, thanks to goals from Kacie Elson and a late strike from Barker, and the Newcastle number nine knows how special it would be to claim successive league titles.

"It'd be massive for us and the thought of getting promoted two seasons in a row is amazing," Barker told nufc.co.uk ahead of the weekend.

"It's not something that a lot of teams achieve and we're really hoping to do so on Sunday in front of a massive crowd. It's nice to be in a position where we aren't relying on other people's results."

Newcastle have been the pace-setters for the majority of this season - losing just one league game - with Becky Langley's side consistently setting high standards.

The team turned full time in the summer and Barker believes that the current squad is one of the best she's ever trained and played with during her career, which has seen her play at the top level of the women's game for previous club Sunderland Women.

"The fact that we've got ourselves into this position is all down to the hard work of the players and coaches," Barker added.

"We keep driving up the quality and professionalism within the group and this is definitely one of the best teams I've ever played in.

"It's not just because of the football we play, but off the pitch we're a really good group of girls and it's a great team to be a part of."

Barker has become one of United's most reliable goalscorers, having hit double figures in three straight seasons - including an impressive 30 strikes in 2021/22 - but she's found herself in a wider role this time around.

Still donning the famous number nine, Barker now prides herself on much more than just goals and assists, having become a pivotal member of Langley's attacking front three.

"Playing as a striker you're focused on that specific role but playing on the wing you've got to do your defensive work," Barker explained.

"I think that's been one of my strongest points this season; I work for and play for the team. If I can do things at the other end of the pitch and get both goals and assists, then it's an added bonus."

Sunday's game against Huddersfield Town Women at Kingston Park kicks off at 14:00 BST on Sunday, 14th April and tickets are on sale here, priced at £5 for adults and £1 for children.

However, prices will increase to £8 for adults and £3 for concessions on the day of the match.

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