In our latest Women's Premiership interview, Crusaders Strikers' midfielder Nadine Murphy reflects on a 24 year playing career with the Crues and how the club has progressed in recent years.

Speaking to Jonny Martin the midfielder said "Ive seen the club progress over the years, The Strikers started as a five a side team based out of a Presbyterian Church in Rathcoole. We then amalgamated with Glenstar from Poleglass and from that we became Newtownabbey Strikers and now we are Crusaders Strikers."

"It has been an incredible journey when I reflect on where we are now. We have the biggest girls academy in Northern Ireland, something that we are very proud of and the majority of our playing staff help out in that either as coaches or behind the scenes."

"I feel very proud of the club, and all that it has achieved in its 26-year history. In terms of going forward we have been through a transitional period, four years ago we had several players retiring at once and that really hurt us. We have plenty of talent coming through the Academy and its up to us to nurture them and not play them to early."

Speaking on the partnership with the men's team at Crusaders FC Nadine said "There’s a really good partnership between the men and the ladies, we are really well respected at the club, Crusaders treat us very similarly as they do the men’s, it’s a lovely pitch to play on and its an incredible club to be part of and it’s a really nice environment to be in."

Nadine is only coming back from a tail bone injury and hopes to make her first appearance of the season against Derry City Ladies, "Its my first game back in the squad, I originally got hurt in pre-season playing against the men’s Northern Ireland masters, I got back to fitness then slipped down the stairs carrying my five year old. Thankfully through time and rehab I am confident and really looking forward to playing again."

Questioned on the benefits of an extended league season compared to the previous campaigns, Nadine commented, "It’s a great idea, it lengthens the season out, gives players more game time and gives the season more to it. We’ve been used to playing each other twice but the extra fixture gives teams the chance to recover from a slip up or bad performance and I’m really excited about a longer season and feel it’s a real positive idea and concept for the women’s game."

Looking ahead to the home game with Derry City Ladies Nadine knows Derry could be out to impress after former manager Dan Nolan resigned, "We haven’t played them yet this year in any competition and they have just lost their manager, so I feel they’ll be coming out showing fight and I think they’ll be hunger and wanting to impress their new manager. For us we’ll have to approach the game correctly and be at the top of our game if we are going to get a good result."

Tags:  Crusaders Strikers