West Ham United Ladies manager Julia Setford has hailed the contributions of newly-acquired Colchester United duo Hannah Gowland and Lily Mellors.

Centre-forward Gowland, in particular, has hit the ground running, netting three times in her first three appearances for the club, while midfielder Mellors is also off the mark in claret and blue.

It has, however, been a frustrating period for Setford's side, with heavy rain and sub-zero temperatures meaning the club have fulfilled just four fixtures since the start of November. Sunday's Essex FA County Cup tie with Witham Town fell victim to the weather on the morning of the game.

But Setford accepts postponements come with the territory and insists there has been no let-up on the training field in the meantime.

"We've still managed to train, with the indoor facility at Chadwell Heath, we've been doing both our sessions," Setford explained. "So we've been working hard over the Christmas period and over the last few weeks where we haven't had games. We still bring in our fitness coach, so we're ticking over and doing quite nicely.

"This time of year, with women's football, we play on the same pitches as the guys and they tend to get cut up. With the guys playing on a Saturday and us following them the next day, if it doesn't survive the Saturday, we get hit on the Sunday. It's frustrating, but you just have to keep training and keep focused, keep to the job in hand and know that when the game comes around, the three points are vital."

Aside from their battle with the elements, the Hammers have made an impressive start to 2013, recording successive wins over London Corinthians and then Gillingham. New signings Gowland and Mellors have more than played their part and Setford is delighted with their seamless transition from Essex rivals Colchester.

"The two girls I brought in, I knew they were quality," she added. "They've come in from Colchester and have really proven themselves. They've come into the team, they've settled in well, they're getting on with the girls, which is always one of the main things and it starts to show on the football pitch.

"Their finishing, especially Hannah's, is second to none. She's a left-footed player and she brings a nice balance to the team. Together with Lily's vision in the middle, it's really boosted our numbers and made us strong."