Bristol City linked with triple swoop including move for Ireland international

It could be a busy month in store for Lauren Smith and Bristol City Women who are in the market for new players

<p>Lauren Smith is trying to assemble a squad that will compete for the FAWC title. (Photo by Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)</p>

Lauren Smith is trying to assemble a squad that will compete for the FAWC title. (Photo by Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Bristol City Women have been linked with a triple swoop for three new players for the 2022/23 FA Women’s Championship season.

The Vixens are identifying targets as they look to return to the Women’s Super League after missing out last season by finishing third to winners Liverpool and runners-up London City Lionesses.

After a number of departures and a few players signing new deals, attention has now turned to what new faces could arrive at the High Performance Centre.

Firstly City are in the market for a new goalkeeper after the departure of Sophie Whitehouse. Whitehouse who was pictured in the new goalkeeper kit left last week and is expected to join league rivals Lewes where she would hope to be the number one choice.

Fran Bentley, who was on loan from Manchester United last season, had been linked with a permanent return and that is still expected to happen.

Bentley could be challenged however by Wales international goalkeeper Olivia Clark, who plays at league rivals Coventry United.

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BBC sports journalist Emma Sanders claims that Clark, along with Chloe Mustaki and Elysia Boddy are targets for Lauren Smith’s side.

Clark played in 10 league matches last season for the side that survived relegation despite a points deduction and played in the 1-1 draw with City in November.

As well as her club career, she has four senior caps for the Welsh national team and is currently on international duty as they play  New Zealand out in Pinatar.

Potentially joining her is Republic of Ireland international Chloe Mustaki who plies her trade for Shelbourne in the Women’s National League.

Mustaki who was born in the United States but qualifies for Ireland was their Under-19’s captain in 2014 and has had an interesting career path, having won the league title in Ireland as a 16-year-old.

The 26-year-old has previously played for Charlton in the Women’s Championship before returning to Shelbourne for a third spell, where she made 24 appearances. She also had a season at Bordeaux and made 15 appearances in the top flight of French football.

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The left-back has spent the last week on international duty and was an unused substitute as Ireland won 9-0 against Georgia to give themselves a chance of a World Cup play-off spot.

Leicester City midfielder Elysia Boddy is also a target, having spent a short spell with the Foxes last year. The 18-year-old had initially started the season at Middlesbrough but was snapped up by the WSL outfit and made two substitute appearances, playing 14 minutes.

In the previous transfer update, Aston Villa duo Jodie Hutton and Shania Hayles were also in talk with a move after leaving the Midlands outfit.

As well as potential incomings, midfield duo Jasmine Bull and Maddi Wilde have signed their first professional deals after breaking into the first-team last year with their local club.

Bull said: “I’m absolutely delighted to sign my first professional deal with this club as I love it here and I have built up a great relationship with everyone. It shows they have faith in me to progress next season and get more experience under my belt which is a nice feeling.

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In addition, Wilde said: “To have the opportunity to play for this club again next season is exciting as we have a great bunch of girls here who are keen to make progress on last season.”

They follow in the footsteps of Chloe Bull and Jesse Wooley who have reaffirmed their desire to stay in the West Country by signing a new one-year deal.

Wooley graduated from the club’s player pathway programme from seven-years-old and is a long-serving player.

She said: "Obviously it was a bit of a stop-start season for me last year so to have signed this contract is a nice feeling as I want to go out there and make a difference to the team.

"I’ve been at this club for 14 years so to sign a new deal that keeps me here next season is great. This club means a lot to me and I love representing my city.”

It was confirmed meanwhile that forward Melissa Johnson would be departing the club. The 30-year-old has departed after one season at the HPC, scoring four goals in 17 matches.

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City’s pre-season schedule has also taken shape though three of their games will be behind-closed-doors. They will begin on Sunday, July 17 against Plymouth, before two games in a week against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City.

Fans will be able to take in one friendly however with a home match scheduled against Reading on Sunday, August 7. The Barclays Women’s Championship fixtures are to be released in mid-July and the season is to begin on Sunday, August 21.