In the latest in our series of interviews with the stars of the Danske Bank Women's Premiership, Portadown Ladies captain Rachel Hall reflects on a tough start to the campaign and a positive merger with Portadown FC.

Speaking to Jonny Martin, the centre back said: "We've just amalgamated with Portadown this year, previously we played as Portadown Integrated Ladies and we formed in 2009 and we were fairly successful from the beginning.

"We climbed through the divisions, twice as a runner up and when we reached the Championship we worked closely with Portadown and when we got promoted we became Portadown Ladies.

"It's been a massive boost, I own a shop in the town and I have experienced at first hand people coming in and asking about the women's game. 

"Playing at Shamrock Park has also been a massive boost and more first time watchers have come to see us play. Its created a buzz around the town and the local paper has started to pick up on results and we truly appreciate the amalgamation with the club."

The defender is very open and honest about Portadown's start to the season, "It's been very tough, we have been really struggling with the step up.  One or two things have went against us, we’ve lost a key player or two, our first choice keeper and our manager resigned very early in the season.

"We have started games well, our heavy defeats have come in the later stages of our matches. Our fitness has been shown late on when our inexperience has showed and fitness maybe hasn't been there compared to the opposition.

"I think in a lot of our games we can take a lot of positives from our first half performances and build upon these in the second half. We will be looking to steady the ship in the second round of matches and in the third round of games hopefully put points on the board."

Portadown continue their campaign tonight against Derry City at the Brandywell (kick-off 8pm), a game Rachel recognises the importance of.

"Last year in the Championship our most contested and tight games were with Derry City. This season we are expecting very similar games and competitive clashes.

"These matches are so important, they genuinely feel like six pointers. These are the games you look for when the fixtures come out and you think who will be near you in the league table and what you can do against them.

"Derry will be thinking in the exact same way and it should be a cracking game and both sets of players will know this is their chance to shine and express themselves."

Portadown Ladies face Derry City Ladies tonight (Wednesday) at the Brandywell in the Danske Bank Women's Premiership (kick-off 8pm)

Tags:  Portadown Ladies