WORCESTER footballer Chelsea Weston is aiming to get her career back on track after an injury-hit year.

The 26-year-old right-back, who went to the former Elgar Technology College and Worcester Sixth Form College, left behind her day job to sign a first full-time professional deal with Notts County Ladies after being released by Birmingham City.

Weston, an ex-England women’s under 23s international, hopes to win a place in the Magpies first XI on Sunday, June 26, against her old club Doncaster Rovers Belles in FA Women’s Super League One at Meadow Lane.

She was a part-time player in a 53-game second spell at Blues but is now making a full-time living from the sport, having spent last season on the sidelines nursing a knee injury and 10 years juggling her football with education or work commitments.

Weston said: “It’s going really well. I’m working hard to get back starting. We have a two-week break at the moment but have our next game on June 26, which I’m hoping to be in contention to play in.

“It’s been very frustrating coming back from an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury. But I played 30 minutes against Durham in the FA Women’s Cup (in March) and then took the fifth penalty in the quarter-finals against Arsenal and scored thankfully!”

During her rehabilitation, Weston worked at Baldwins Accountants, Stourbridge, for 12 months while also doing punditry work for Blues ladies in her spare time.

She said: “The past year has been extremely difficult trying to recover from my injury and not knowing if my football career was over. Without having an employer as understanding as Baldwins have been, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.

“I’ve had to attend various rehab appointments that clashed with my day job and they were really supportive by granting me the time to get my body back to its best, so I really can’t thank them enough.

“The accountancy role helped me to take my mind off the devastating injury I had and enabled me to exercise my mind a lot more with numbers while my body was resting.

“Birmingham decided not to renew my contract in January but after a trial with County I’ve managed to resurrect my football career.

“It’s been my dream ever since I was little to be a professional footballer, so to finally be able to get paid for my hobby is amazing.

“Last year’s World Cup in Canada has helped to raise the profile of women’s football in the UK and, as a result, there is an upward trend of more women playing football as a full-time job now — and long may that continue.

“My main aim for the next year is to get as many minutes under my belt to make up for the time spent on the sidelines.”

Baldwins director Ian Wilkins said: “To go through the setbacks Chelsea has had and come back even stronger is testament to her strong character, which I’m sure will set her up for a great career in the game.”