Who will the Foxes face in 2017/18

After the FA Women’s Premier League Northern Division Fixtures were released last week, we’ve taken a look at the eleven teams that Leicester City Women will face over the next twelve months as they battle out another tough campaign for 2017/18.

Blackburn Rovers Ladies

Last season finish: 1st
Top Goalscorer: Saffron Jordan (22 goals)
Manager: Gemma Donnelly
Results vs Foxes:

Blackburn Rovers Ladies have been a part of the Northern Division’s top teams for a number of years now. Such consistency was rewarded last season as the club went the entire league campaign unbeaten, with the Foxes being one of just three sides to take points off the champions.

In spite of their defeat to Spurs in the promotion play-off, Gemma Donnelly’s players will be highly encouraged by their performances last term and will be a force once more when the season kicks-off later this month.

Bradford City Women

Last season finish: 8th
Top Goalscorer: Hannah Campbell (19 goals)
Manager: Charlotte Stuart
Results vs Foxes:

With a 5-4 thriller at the Riverside in May, Foxes fans got to see the best and worst of Bradford City Women. The Bantams are entering their fifth straight season in the Northern Division and have consistently performed at this level ever since. Bradford finished eighth last season, won the West Riding Cup yet again and reached the SSE Women’s FA Cup 3rd Round.

Derby County Ladies

Last season finish: 5th
Top Goalscorer: Melissa Johnson (16 goals)
Manager: John Bennett
Results vs Foxes:

The Ewe Rams struggled with consistency last term as their three consecutive league wins right at the start of the season proved to be their longest winning streak of the campaign. Losing top goalscorer Melissa Johnson to Sheffield FC Ladies of the WSL is a big blow but manager John Bennett will be confident that the rest of his squad, including Player of the Year Molly Johnson, can help improve upon their high of fifth place.

Travelling Foxes supporters will be welcomed to an improved Mickleover Sports Bar with renovations beginning over the summer.

AFC Fylde Ladies

Last season finish: 7th
Top Goalscorer: Natasha Flint (10 goals)
Manager: Conrad Prendergast
Results vs Foxes:

AFC Fylde Ladies endured a disappointing 2016/17 season after finishing second the year prior, however the club have already made a number of fantastic signings to get back on track. The Coasters have added a host of experienced WSL talents to their ranks this summer, including New Zealand international Laura Merrin and Liverpool’s Shannon Beckwith. Under the stewardship of Conrad Prendergast, Fylde Ladies have already navigated a successful pre-season in preparation for what will hopefully be a promising season for the Lancashire outfit.

Huddersfield Town Ladies

Last season finish: 9th
Top Goalscorer: Kate Mallin (32 goals)
Manager: Ashley Vickers
Results vs Foxes:

The post-Mickey Booth, in charge for 14-years, era in Huddersfield has gone better than expected. The Terriers will enjoy a fourth successive season in the Women’s Premier League Northern Division and will do so under Ashley Vickers, who has brought in a number of new acquisitions. The most noteworthy signing comes in the form of Hannah Campbell, who arrives following a stellar season with Bradford. The striker scored 19 times last term and will attempt to help move Huddersfield Town higher up the table.

Middlesbrough Women

Last season finish: 2nd
Top Goalscorer: Bianca Owens (22 goals)
Manager: Lindsey Stephenson
Results vs Foxes:

Any side that nets the most league goals only to finish second in the standings will feel hard-done-by. That is exactly the case for Middlesbrough Women, who scored 60 goals in the Northern Division to finish second behind Blackburn Rovers Ladies. Unfortunately, it was their home form that slightly let Middlesbrough down as they fell short of the title – perhaps showcased by our three results against them last season.

The talented squad have returned to training and have some demanding pre-season tests against the likes of Sunderland Ladies and Durham Women in the coming weeks. Having retained the services of 22-goal Bianca Owens, ‘Boro will have their eyes on top spot when the season starts.

Nottingham Forest Ladies

Last season finish: 10th
Top Goalscorer: Andrea Bell (16 goals)
Manager: Graham Abercrombie
Results vs Foxes:

With 18 points, it was Nottingham Forest Ladies’ worst season since they entered the division in 2012. After a decent start to the campaign – winning their opening four games – Forest never seemed to recover after conceding five second half goals to Huddersfield at home. The Nottinghamshire outfit would not win for another six games following the 5-2 defeat and subsequently finished second from bottom.

Others are aware, however, that last season is an outlier in what has been a successful period following their promotion five years ago. Having moved quickly to appoint further coaching staff, the Reds have enjoyed a strong start to pre-season.

Stoke City Ladies

Last season finish: 4th
Top Goalscorer: Ashleigh Hayes (20 goals)
Manager: Steve Swanwick
Results vs Foxes:

The closest side to Leicester City Women last season, the Potters finished fourth for the second consecutive year. Their accomplishments in the league were joined by yet another Staffordshire FA County Cup victory and a winning season in the FAWPL Midlands Reserve League.

Stoke recently dismissed of Leeds United Ladies in a pre-season friendly with goals coming from Lou Roberts, Laura Garside, Hannah Keryakoplis and Meg Bowyer.

West Bromwich Albion Ladies

Last season finish: 6th
Top Goalscorer: Abigail Cottam (20 goals)
Manager: Louis Sowe
Results vs Foxes:

West Bromwich Albion Ladies will be looking to regain the form that saw them become champions of this division in 2016. The Baggies finished in sixth last term but the season was not without its high points. The club won the Birmingham Cup for a second successive season, Craig Nicholls won a Manager of the Month award during a fantastic unbeaten run and top scorer Abigail Cottam was firing on all cylinders.

West Brom are now under the stewardship of Louis Sowe after Nicholls stepped down. Sowe will inherit a talented squad but will be without top scorer Cottam, who has joined WSL side Durham Women.

The Foxes have also signed three of West Brom’s players during the summer break – Leigh Dugmore, Olivia Mitcham and Paige Stewart.

Wolverhampton Wanders Womens

Last season finish: 1st (Midlands Division One)
Top Goalscorer: Jade Cross (16 goals)
Manager: Tim Dudding
Results vs Foxes:
WWWFC 1-2 LCWFC (Last Meeting – 2015/16 Season)

In exactly the same position 12 months ago, the Foxes are all too aware of the dangers that a newly promoted team can cause. Wolves lifted the Midlands Division title in dramatic fashion with Player of the Season Emma Cross (Twin to top scorer Jade) scoring the decisive goal on the final day.

The champions only lost twice all season and won each of their last four games away from home to pip Loughborough Foxes Women to the crown. Tim Dudding will look to continue this upward trajectory with a solid opening to life in a higher division.

Guiseley Vixens Women

Last season finish: 1st (Northern Division One)
Top Goalscorer: Sarah Danby (23 goals)
Manager: Glen Preston
Results vs Foxes:

As Guiseley Vixens’ new hashtag suggests, this really is the start of a #NewEra after the club’s title-winning Northern Division One season. The 2017/18 campaign will be the Vixens’ first WPL Northern Division campaign since their relegation back in 2016.

Manager Glen Preston has already stated that some of the longest-serving players will have a “score to settle” as they aim to right the wrongs of 2015/16. The summer got off to a poor start as they lost co-manager Kyle O’Reilly and their two top goal scorers from last season. However, bringing in some talented players in the form of Nikki Berko and former LCWFC striker Fiona Worts will only bolster a squad that finished 15 points clear at the summit of Northern Division One.