Aston Villa striker, Chloe Jones, talks to Ruth Dacey about Villa's title chances, life outside the game and her transfer from Liverpool Ladies FC in February 2013.
Q. Do you see yourselves as title contenders?
We can definitely be contenders to win the division, with the young team that we have- a lot of them are home grown players that have played in the development squads. The club allows young players like that to get a chance and see all their hard work pay off which they have been working towards for years.
We have a great combination of youth and experienced players. We have definitely got the ability and the skills that we need to make a really good team and contend for the top spot.
Q. Aside from playing a part in the team, what are your personal goals?
I want to keep improving as a player. I would like to think that I am not at my peak yet. I'm aiming to be as fit as I can and as strong as I can so I'm working really hard on and off the pitch in the gym.
I want to be one of the best midfielders and one of the best players in the league. I want to score a few free kicks and penalties.
We have learnt a lot since playing them in the FA cup and since that game we have just been improving more.
Q. What were your reasons for leaving future league winners Liverpool last year in pre season?
It was for personal reasons. I changed my job to become a teacher in
Birmingham and the travelling to Liverpool was just too much to keep going there every day.
Also, I know Aston Villa have always been a really good team in the Midlands and they are on the rise. It is a team that is developing and getting stronger and stronger and the whole club appealed to me. I knew they were going places.
Q. And how do you find it balancing football and your teaching?
Along with all the marking that I have to do, I generally try and train in the mornings and the evenings. So I would get to the gym at 6a.m, have a full day of work and then have a second session straight after work.
I always give myself the week nights and weekend free because its an important to have that social work balance.
Q. How do you feel the women's side of the game is progressing, in terms of becoming more professional and moving forward?
The clubs all have to work towards becoming professional because of how the game is now. We look to the backing of men’s clubs and local sponsors- and this is the way it has to go for teams to keep up with those at the top.
I possibly moved from
Liverpool at the wrong time because I missed out on being involved in their league title winning side but I had to make the move because of the personal situation at the time.
Q. Who would you say are Aston Villa's key signings this year?
Alicia Robinson is the main signing for us this season, she will make a real difference to the team. She’s a very creative player and I would like to think we will work well together. I hope the pair of us in midfield can help Aston Villa become more of a creative team and the team can build around players like her.
Lauren Walker has been a great signing, she's our left back.
Q. How has preparation for the upcoming season been going?
I don’t think it’s been a good thing that we have had such a long break since we finished our last season.
We finished in May time last year and we haven’t had much time off but because of so many players changing around. We focused on fitness up until the Christmas and then from January onwards, we have really focused on playing football.
It has taken time for us to get to know each other and fully understand how we are going to play but I think we have got there now.
Q. And lastly, who would you say is your biggest threat in the league?
I would say Sunderland and
Doncaster pose the biggest threat to us this season.
By Ruth Dacey