The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Paddy von Behr

KA­SIA LIPKA has spent the last two years play­ing foot­ball in WSL2 and study­ing for a de­gree in eco­nom­ics.

Pro­mo­tion fol­lowed grad­u­a­tion and the Don­caster Rovers Belles mid­fielder is now ready to test her­self against the best.

Lipka grad­u­ated from Leeds Univer­sity last sum­mer and cel­e­brated by help­ing the Belles clinch their re­turn to the top flight of women’s foot­ball.

She played in WSL1 as a teenager but, ac­cord­ing to the 22-year-old, she re­turns as both a bet­ter player and a more ma­ture per­son.

And, af­ter sign­ing her first full-time pro­fes­sional con­tract last month, she is itch­ing to prove it.

“I have had a bit of a rest over the win­ter be­cause it’s a long sea­son and I grad­u­ated in the sum­mer as well. It was nice to be able to re­lax a bit,” said Lipka.

“I think I will miss univer­sity a bit, but I have gone full-time now, which is what I have al­ways wanted to do.

“For the last two sea­sons I have been try­ing to jug­gle my de­gree with foot­ball, so the tim­ing is good.

“There are a lot of things I want to im­prove on, and hav­ing time to fo­cus on the small things makes a big dif­fer­ence.

“I was up there be­fore when I was quite young, but now I feel more ex­pe­ri­enced af­ter a cou­ple of sea­sons in WSL 2. I need to test my­self against the best and see how I do.”

She won’t have to wait too long to face the best as Don­caster are sched­uled to face WSL cham­pi­ons Chelsea on the open­ing week­end of the league sea­son.

That also means a swift re­turn to Don­caster for winger Beth Eng­land, a key pro­tag­o­nist in their pro­mo­tion cam­paign, who left to join the Blues last week.

“We all wish her the best of luck and it is a shame we have not kept hold of her,” con­tin­ued Lipka. “I re­ally en­joyed play­ing with her and re­ally got on with her as a per­son, too.

“We have Chelsea first game, which will be in­ter­est­ing!

“I think it’s great that it’s a home fix­ture be­cause we have a re­ally good fan­base.

“It will be good to see where we are and where we lie against the best.”

Eng­land aside, Rovers have kept hold of the squad that took them up, as well as adding some new faces – striker Natasha Dowie the most no­table among them – and Lipka be­lieves they are ca­pa­ble of ruf­fling a few feath­ers in the top flight.

“The pri­or­ity is to stay up, but I think we can do more than that,” she added. “We want to be able to com­pete against the best and give ev­ery­one a game.We are hop­ing to sur­prise a few peo­ple.

“I think the sign­ings show our in­ten­tions and send a mes­sage out that we are com­ing up not just to fight to stay up.

“We want to be more than that and, with the play­ers we have kept as well, we feel like we can do well in the league.We want to do it prop­erly.”

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