Hartlepool United Women play their first game of 2024 on Sunday afternoon, against Bradford City Women at Grayfields (2pm kick-off).
With postponements and the Christmas break, Pools have been out of action for over a month. This Sunday, however, sees Hartlepool back on home turf and captain Emily Stuart can't wait to return to the pitch.
"After the Christmas break, we're looking forward to the second half of the season with confidence," stated the skipper.
"We know we can improve and hopefully get the wins that we need to climb up that league table. We're expecting a tough game on Sunday, Bradford are a decent side, but we'll be up for it."
The defender also reflected on the first half of the campaign, with Pools facing an indifferent start on their return to the North East Regional Womens Premier League.
“The season so far has been full of ups and downs," added Stuart.
"That's understandable considering we took the chance for promotion earlier than what was planned by the new management team. With the new squad only into our second season, we are still trying to adjust to a very competitive Premier League.
"On reflection, we have had good moments in every game and at times been on top with good opportunities - they should have seen different results but all the teams in this league are strong.
"Inevitably, if we fail to score first and then concede it is tough to get the win which has been the story so far this campaign."