While West Ham United's first team find themselves back in the Barclays Premier League, the Ladies side have just missed out on promotion from the FA Women's Premier League Southern Division in the past few years.

During the summer, the squad was strengthened with the addition of 29-year-old goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne, who returned to West Ham United Ladies for the second spell of her career.

"When I left two years ago, I always said that West Ham will always be in my heart and having the chance to come back, I couldn't say 'No'" said former England Under-20 international. "Every team I have been at, I have enjoyed my time for many different reasons. However, there is something you cannot explain about West Ham, it's like a family."

Wayne has played for a host of top women's football teams throughout her career, starting with a full scholarship with Arsenal before moves to Bristol Academy, Charlton Athletic and Gillingham.

The current interest and funding in women's football continues to prevent West Ham's players turning professional, but Wayne is hoping that situation may change.

"I currently work as a warehouse supervisor six days a week, as well as studying for an AAT level two certificate in accounting, so fitting everything in is very time consuming. I had the privilege of training full-time when I was at Arsenal but feel that I was a little too young to fully appreciate it. Playing full-time again would be a dream come true."

Since returning to West Ham, Wayne has been full of compliments for the Hammers coaching staff, believing that the management team of Julia Setford, Paul Blanchflower and Kate De Costa could make the difference in the search for promotion.

"They are by far the best coaching team from previous experience. My former team-mate Julia has taken to management like a duck to water. She is fair and passionate but hard when she needs to be. Kate and Paul were not there last time I was at West Ham and I feel that they could be the difference."

Wayne also reserved a special mention for goalkeeping coach Julian Roberts. "I work mainly with Julian who is a fantastic coach. He tests me every session, even if I do have to wind him up to make him shoot harder. He listens to the things that I feel I need to work on and he will always go the extra mile to help."

The Hammers have started the season brightly, with two wins from their opening three games giving them a stable base in their hunt for promotion. "I think a lot of the credit needs to go to our team defensively. We have had a lot of changes and everyone has adapted well. We have a fairly young defence so we know that the hard work they are doing in training is paying off in games and this will increase their confidence".

"There are a few new faces but the core of the team is still the same so I feel that I have settled in well, they know the way I work as much as I know them. Over the last few years we have been pipped to the post [for promotion] so getting as many points on the board as soon as possible settles the nerves and allows us to play the way we want to."

"I think that the good part about our squad is that we have a mixture of youth and experienced players, but all the girls have great banter. When we are struggling we have some great players like Jess Barling, Lindsey Morgan or Becky Merritt who try and lift the team, but I think that every player in our squad plays their part in their own little ways."

"Personally, I didn't come back to West Ham to come second or third again, I want to win the league and go up. I think we have some quality players and great coaching staff so anything else other than promotion is not an option. We have always been in and around there at the end of the season, so with the additions we have made, along with the youth that we have, I think this could be a very successful season for West Ham Ladies."

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