Man City Women will travel to the Stoke Gifford Stadium on Sunday for their third game of the competition in Group One North, against a team who have had a manager and several key players leave recently.
City faced the Vixens four times in all competitions last season, twice in the league and once both the Conti Cup and FA Cup. Bristol have done have a lot of reshuffling with manager Willie Kirk leaving to take up the role as assistant manager to Casey Stoney at Manchester United Women, the Scot taking captain Millie Turner and youngster Aimee Palmer with him to the North West.
Bristol also lost Chloe Arthur to Birmingham City Women, Yana Däniels and Jasmine Matthews to Liverpool FC Women, Millie Farrow, who had recovered from a season out with an ACL, to Reading FC Women and of course we acquired Lauren Hemp.
The Vixens brought in Tanya Oxtoby, who was part of Marc Skinner’s coaching staff at Birmingham and who also played for Doncaster Rovers Belles, to take them into the new fully professional WSL season. Oxtoby retained ten players from the previous seasons, including holding down on-loan keeper Sophie Baggaley from Birmingham and getting exciting players such as Belgian Julie Biesmans to sign new contracts.
The club also signed ten new players in Welsh defender Gemma Evans, youngsters Ali Johnson, who was part of the bronze medal winning Young Lionesses team, Poppy Pattinson and Ella Rutherford from Liverpool, the Man City Development squad and Millwall Lionesses respectively, New Zealand international Katie Rood from Juventus Women, Lucy Graham and Eartha Cummings from Scottish sides Hibernian Ladies and Spartans FC, Heather Payne from Peamount in Ireland, Rosella Ayane from Apollon Limasssol, Ayane having played for the Vixens on loan in 2016 and Finnish international Juliette Kemppi from Norwegian side; Kolbotn Fotball.
Both teams will be looking for a win, the Blues already at the top of the Group One North standings with Bristol tied on four points alongside Birmingham. Kick-off is at 3pm at the Stoke Gifford Stadium in Bristol; the ground being a part of the South Gloucester and Stroud College Campus.
Man City have also just returned from the first leg of their round of 32 tie with Atletico Madrid, drawing 1-1 at the Cerro del Espino stadium, Gemma Bonner netting the first and the equaliser coming from Kenti Robles in the last minute of the 90.
Captain Steph Houghton was the only player not included in the match day squad, the starting eleven being made up of Karen Bardsley, Mie Jans, Bonner, Jen Beattie, Mel Lawley, Nadia Nadim, Nikita Parris, who earnt her 100th cap for City, Caroline Weir, Abbie McManus, Keira Walsh, who was also captain for the night and Tessa Wullaert.
Subs included Ellie Roebuck, Janine Beckie and Lauren Hemp, Jill Scott being subbed on for Weir in the 62nd minute and Claire Emslie and Georgia Stanway coming on for Nadim and Lawley ten minutes later. The Blues host the return leg on the 26th of September at the Academy Stadium; kick off 7pm.