Manager Matt Fisher says the future looks bright for Crewe Alexandra Women despite a challenging start to the season.
A rash of injuries and the loss of key players have made for a difficult first couple of weeks in the North West Regional League.
But back-to-back defeats, at the hands of Curzon Ashton and Cheadle, were followed by a battling 4-4 draw with Salford this week, as Laura Garner plundered a hat-trick and Seren Redmond got the other.
Fisher, who has boosted numbers by re-signing Kirsty Stafford and Grace Duckworth, said: “It has been a difficult start to the season but that’s hardly surprising.
“The curveballs thrown in during pre-season meant we are weeks behind our opponents.
"In a league usually won by teams who drop no more than six points a season, we know what our realistic targets are.
“We have players returning to full fitness very soon. While the next few weeks will continue to be a test, we will be fighting for every ball and point.”
He added: “The amazing work the club is doing off the pitch with the training ground, youth set-up and support is showing the female section that it is going to be a very exciting future.
“Our job is to ensure we are challenging right now, to make sure the next generation of players have a team fighting at the highest level possible.”
Crewe entertain Tranmere Rovers at The Cumberland Arena on Sunday (2pm).