Oxford United Women have been preparing for the new season with four very exciting signings for their first season in the National League.
Midfielder, and captain, Lauren Haynes has committed herself to the club as have fellow midfielders Ellie Noble and Sophie Baker plus midfielder/striker Emily Allen, four signings which Manager Liam Gilbert believes send out a real signal of intent:
“That’s four very strong players and four fantastic role models for the younger players. They all have experience in higher leagues, are all fiercely determined and have that real strength of character that you need if you are going to enjoy success. Obviously with the change in league we are going into the unknown a little bit but this gives us continuity as well as a very solid foundation to work from, with more signings hopefully coming very soon.
"It has been a busy first month in the post. A key statement for us is that we have been able to retain so many players that featured heavily for the club last season. For me it is a key indicator that players believe in our vision and are ready to drive Oxford United Women forward again."
We asked Liam to talk us through the four new signings:
I am delighted that the Club Captain has agreed to stay with Oxford United for the upcoming season. It is a real testament to the program we are trying to run here that a player of Lauren's ability and experience is committed to the club. She had a very unfortunate season last season with injuries but we are looking forward to a fresh start as she will be an integral part of the 2018-19 team.
Ellie is a player that many Oxford United fans will know well. Ellie has a fantastic attitude, is a driven player and I am looking forward to seeing what Ellie can achieve. Ellie can be a driving force in our midfield this season and is going to relish the opportunity ahead of her.
It is great to have Emily on board again this season. She is a very talented player who will be a real asset to the team this year. Emily is a hard working, talented player who has a healthy appetite to improve week in week out. She will be a great role model to the younger players this season and someone that fans will enjoy watching.
Sophie is a combative midfield player who shows a lot of desire and has a good eye for goal. Sophie deservedly started to feature more and more for the first at the end of last season and we are hoping that she continues where she left off!