Bristol Academy close to sealing new Fishlock deal
BRISTOL Academy are on the brink of clinching a new deal with talented midfielder Jess Fishlock – just days after she landed a top national honour.
There was double success for the Vixens at the FA Women's Football Awards with Wales international Fishlock being voted the players' player of the season, while boss Mark Sampson was named coach of the year after guiding the team to fourth place in the FA Women's Super League last term.
Now Sampson believes he is just hours away from securing Fishlock's services for next year's campaign – and also agreeing a 12-month extension to Spanish striker Laura Del Rio's contract.
"Although it's not absolutely definite yet, we have agreed virtually everything with Jess and hopefully it will all be finalised by the end of this week – and the same with Laura," said Sampson.
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Fishlock's controversial omission from the GB squad for the London Olympics this summer was greeted with incredulity in many quarters of the women's game and Sampson feels her award goes at least some way to making amends.
"Her recognition is well deserved, especially because she suffered a major setback earlier in the year when she wasn't included in the Olympic squad," said Sampson.
"The fact she was voted for by the other players in the Super League says it all really.
"I'm sure she would rather have gone to the Olympics than have won it, but it proves that she is one of the best players in the country at the moment."
Sampson said his award was a reflection on the whole club rather than just himself.
"To be recognised for our attractive style of football, competitiveness and contribution to the women's game was very special," he added.
Fishlock could soon be on her way to Australia with Bristol expected to agree a loan deal with a club in Melbourne.
"We have links with them and it may be that Jess spends a couple of months there," said Sampson.
"We are also looking to do loan deals with a number of Premier League and Southern Premier clubs to keep the players ticking over during the winter, although as they are only allowed one Super League player each it takes some arranging."
Midfielder Mel Lawley will have a loan stint with Aston Villa and a number of other players are also expected to head out on temporary deals during the winter break.
The Academy are staging their own awards evening on Saturday, November 17 at the Memorial Stadium (7pm). Tickets, which include dinner, are £20.
The weather wiped out much of last weekend's women's football programme with all of the SW Women's League Premier Division and Eastern Division One fixtures postponed. But Keynsham Town's 1-0 win over Forest Green Rovers took them back to the top of the SW Women's Combination.
Bristol Ladies Union – who have a tough FA Women's Cup tie SW Women's League Premier Division at title rivals Larkhall Athletic this weekend – continue to strengthen and are adding Swedish player Lovisa Svärdén to their ranks.
The midfielder, previously with BK Höllviken, is expected to make her first-team debut in January.
Results, SW Women's Combination: Keynsham Town 1, Forest Green Rovers 0.
Gloucestershire County Women's League Div I: Bitton v AEK Boco p; Dursley Town 2, Gloucester City Res 3; Quedgeley 1, Cheltenham Spa 2; Wootton Bassett Town v Bristol & West pp.