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Women’s Football: Preston puts pressure on Vixens to out-fox rivals

Guiseley Vixens manager Glen Preston and captain Alarna Fuller. PIC: Guiseley AFC
Guiseley Vixens manager Glen Preston and captain Alarna Fuller. PIC: Guiseley AFC
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Manager Glen Preston has challenged Guiseley Vixens to achieve their highest-ever finish as they prepare for the start of the 2018/19 campaign.

Vixens narrowly avoided relegation last season, finishing 10th in the Northern Division – surviving on goal difference with only three goals separating them and relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Vixens goalkeeper Bethan Davies.

Vixens goalkeeper Bethan Davies.

Despite their fight for survival, the West Yorkshire side did lift silverware following a 3-1 win over Bradford City in the County Cup final.

While parading the trophy around the ground during Guiseley AFC’s friendly with Bolton Wanderers, Preston said: “Our expectations are always high, we want to aim as high as possible. We want to finish in the top five of the league this season, retain the County Cup and perhaps have a good FA Cup run as well.”

One of the reasons behind the optimism is the signings which the club have made over the past couple of months.

Guiseley have welcomed Bethan Davies and Sophie Walton from Doncaster Belles, a team who last year won the Women’s Super League 2 title.

Summer signing Sophie Walton.

Summer signing Sophie Walton.

Walton was part of the title-winning squad with Doncaster and has competed in three FA Cup finals. What’s more, she has played international football, making a number of appearances for England at youth level.

Davies, meanwhile, spent the back end of last season on loan at Nethermoor. The keeper has now joined the Vixens on a permanent basis.

Another marquee signing is Darsey Faulkner from Manchester City.

Preston has been delighted with the club’s recruitment: “We signed a lot of players with good international experience. We signed four or five players from Super League-standard teams so we’re hoping they can kick us into that next level.”

Guiseley’s captain, Alarna Fuller added: “We’ve got a lot of new faces in and quality people as well so I’d like to think that we can kick on from where we finished off last season and finish higher up the league this year.

“We’ve recruited well and everyone has turned up to pre-season looking sharp so I do think we will finish well.”

Preston admitted that the club are still looking to make a couple of signings before their season opener against local rivals Huddersfield on August 26.

“We still need to try to get one or two more additions by the start of the season,” he said. “If we achieve this then I think we are on for a successful season.”