Will Bristol City compete in the WSL next season?
After just one loss, Bristol City sit comfortably as leaders of the pack with 36 points- 6 points above runners-up London City Lionesses.
Bristol City manager, Lauren Smith, has led her team to an incredible 11 wins out of 15 games, which includes a controlled 3-1 victory over London City Lionesses.
Fourth spot Birmingham City are the only side to walk away with all the points, following a 1-0 defeat. Southampton, Durham and Blackburn Rovers have all secured a point from Bristol.
Abi Harrison is a crucial player in this successful squad, as she is Bristol City Women’s all-time top goalscorer, after surpassing Natalia Pablos’ previous goal-tally of 22. The Scottish forward has also collected the Golden Boot and Player of the Year at both Bristol City’s end of year awards, as well as for the FA Women’s Championship.
The 20 year old shot-stopper, Fran Bentley, arrived on loan in the summer from Barclays FA Women’s Super League side Manchester United, and since has acted as a vital part of the team. After having an excellent season in the Robins’ net, keeping a club record of 10 clean sheets, she was awarded with the clubs Young Player of the season.
An impressive performance in a City shirt saw a call up to Mo Marley’s England u23 squad in April, who travelled to Murcia for two matches against the Netherlands.
But just how has this Championship side reached this dominating league position?
By 2011, Bristol Academy WFC Limited was formed and won a licence to compete in the new FA Women’s Super League, which allowed the team to transition to semi-professional, with Mark Sampson as manager until his England Women’s manager post in 2014.
In this time, Bristol Academy reached two FA Cup finals (2011 and 2013) and competed in the Champions League (2011 and 2014). Bristol City saw a second spot finish in the WSL in 2013 too.
The club now look to return to the WSL, but this time secure a trophy.
Will they be able to maintain their extended league at the top and therefore compete against old rivalries?