Academy still waiting to find out schedule
BRISTOL Academy are still waiting for their fixture list for the new FA Women's Super League campaign to be confirmed – with the start of season moving closer.
The schedule was due to have been announced before Christmas, but has been delayed four times.
"We know our first game will be an FA Women's Cup match on March 17, but we are still waiting for the league fixtures to be finalised," said Vixens boss Mark Sampson.
"We have had a provisional list, but the problem is that the league say they want games played within a certain time frame – for example between a Thursday and a Sunday – and the clubs than have to agree on a date. That can take a while and has slowed things up."
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It is understood Bristol are likely to play five of their seven home league games on Thursday evenings at the Stoke Gifford Stadium (7pm), with their league campaign beginning in mid-April.
Their curtain-raiser – in the fifth round of the FA Women's Cup – is set to be followed by their opening Continental Cup clash on Saturday, March 23, with the FA Cup Women's Cup quarter-finals scheduled for Sunday, March 31.
This year's mid-season break is expected to take place from June 8 to August 4, with the final fixture of the campaign on September 15.
The Vixens' players reported back for their first training session this week with Sampson hoping to add another striker and a defender to his squad within the next ten days.
"We are quite lucky in that we should have the whole squad available for training until the end of February, as we don't have anybody on international duty before then," said Sampson.
"We are going to have a fairly young squad again this season, so it's important we work on getting good fitness levels and an understanding between the players over the next few weeks."
Keynsham Town will have to do it the hard way if they are going to fight their way back into the FA Women's Premier League at the first attempt.
The Somerset club have managed to complete the majority of their home games in the SW Women's Combination as they have access to an all-weather surface at the Crown Field. But a rash of postponements means they will have a run of seven consecutive away games to round off their campaign.
"It's a hard task and partly reflects our home games being played and our away games being cancelled," said manager Barrie Newton. "Dates still have to be set for six of the seven matches and it looks like we will be playing pretty much until the end of April."
Once again, the weather wiped out much of last weekend's programme, although Mollie Stevens' double gave Cleeve West Town a 2-1 win over Weymouth in the only game played in the SW Women's League Premier Division.
St Nicholas moved into second place in the Eastern Division after four goals from Becky Rexworthy, an Amy Jefferies hat-trick and a Charlotte Davis strike secured an 8-2 win at Poole Town.