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Thu 03 September 2020, 16:00|Tottenham Hotspur

A 96th-minute winner in the equivalent fixture last term, our Goal of the Season at the London Stadium, a vital strike in the Conti Cup... it’s fair to say there are always fireworks when Rianna Dean has West Ham in her crosshairs.

Our London rivals are set to come to The Hive for Spurs Women’s first game of the new Barclays FA Women’s Super League campaign on Sunday, nearly six months on from the curtailment of last season over the outbreak of coronavirus.

With that last-minute goal in our 2-1 home victory against the East Londoners in January, not to mention her stunning header in the away league match last September, still fresh in the memory, Rianna is eager to get back into action – and would love nothing more than to mark the occasion by adding to her goalscoring tally against the Hammers.

“It’s always a big game against West Ham and it’s exciting to start the season with a London derby,” smiled the England Under-21 international, who signed a new contract with us over the summer.

“I really enjoy playing against them, they are a tough team and you can tell when we come up against them that there’s a lot of history and rivalry there. We go into every game wanting to win, and we’ll be looking for nothing less than three points to start our season off on a high.”

While three of her 10 goals in 2019/20 were at West Ham’s expense, Rianna knows that past achievements will count for nothing when we take to the field on Sunday afternoon.

It’s going to be a much greater challenge for us without the fans.

Rianna Dean

Both sides have strengthened during the off-season, while there’s the added factor of the campaign starting behind closed doors – something our top scorer for the last two consecutive years is acutely aware of.

“It’s going to be a much greater challenge for us without the fans,” she admitted. “They spur us on, they create the atmosphere and their support at The Hive means everything to us. We know they’ll be watching us on the FA Player and cheering us on from home, though, and we know we need to put on the best performance possible to make them proud from wherever they’ll be tuning in from, so when they do return to games, they’ll be excited to see us in action.

“I think the new signings West Ham have made will make a big impact on their team, too. They were already a tough side and they’ve definitely strengthened in the transfer window. We’ve also added to our squad and so have most teams in the WSL, so I think the league as a whole has improved and it’s going to be interesting to see how everyone performs this season.”

Read more from Rianna in an exclusive feature-length interview in this weekend’s official matchday programme – available to read online for free from 12 noon on Saturday.

Read the West Ham programme online

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