‘The master of galvanising a team’ verdict on Reading FC Women’s FA WSL chances

Reading FC Women's manager Kelly Chambers celebrates their win over Birmingham City Women at full time. Photo: Neil Graham
Reading FC Women's manager Kelly Chambers celebrates their win over Birmingham City Women at full time. Photo: Neil Graham

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The Royals are back! Reading FC Women kick-off their 2022/23 FA Women’s Super League campaign with the not-at-all daunting trip to Manchester United on Saturday.

Reading have sold a record 500 season tickets for the forthcoming FA WSL season which was due to have started last weekend at home to newly promoted Liverpool. However, events conspired to be what they were and the Royals now have an away day at Leigh Sports Village to contend with on Saturday, a game that can be watched live on the FA Player.

As well as several new faces and a new captain, Football in Berkshire has its own new face following the Royals this season in Andrew Belt, who will be providing reports and updates on all things Reading this season.

To kick things off, we asked Andrew for his first thoughts on the season ahead, and we’ve scoured the internet for some suggestions of how the Royals will fair in the 2022/23 FA WSL.

Andrew writes: ”Buoyed by a glorious Euros, the opportunity to follow the fortunes of Reading FC Women for FiB came at the perfect time. I’ve always wanted to catch a game of theirs and I’ve never seen their players in action, but this gives me the opportunity to properly follow a local team (being a Leeds United fan – I know, boo, hiss!). So, as for predictions ahead of this maiden season, from what I’ve gleaned from my research, relegation should be unlikely (hopefully not the kiss of death!). Realistically, it seems somewhere between 8th and 10th is the safe bet but here’s hoping for 6th or higher with more scalps like last season’s humbling of the champions on the horizon. 

Newcomers could turn the tide

Kelly Chambers, has shaken up her side, signing six players. They include the goalkeeper Jacqueline Burns, who competed at her first major tournament at the Euros with Northern Ireland and joins from Häcken, the forward Charlie Wellings from Celtic and the defender Brooke Hendrix from Melbourne Victory. The newcomers could turn the tide. – The Guardian

The master of galvanising a team

Emma Mitchell in action for Reading FC Women against Manchester City. Photo: Neil Graham.
Emma Mukandi (nee Mitchell) in action for Reading FC Women against Manchester City. Photo: Neil Graham.

It will be a tough opener for Kelly Chambers’ team against the Red Devils, who finished fourth in the WSL last season. Marc Skinner, the Manchester United manager, is expected to select a team from a squad that includes England Euro 2022 heroes Mary Earps (and former Royal!), Ella Toone, Alessia Russo and Nikita Parris, the latter recently joining from Arsenal. In addition, United have boosted their squad with seven new signings including international talent such as Aissatou Tounkara (French semi-finalist) and Adriana Leon (Canadian striker). – Tilehurst End

The Reading manager is the master of galvanising a team and she will need all of her skills again this season as with six new signings (below) – including the return of Becky Jane to the club. It’s seven new signings if you include the return of new club captain and Scottish international Emma Mukandi (nee Mitchell) following her time away from football as she gave birth to her baby girl Innes on November 15 2021 and her marriage in August 2022.

Consistency could be vital

Readings Deanne Rose against Tottenham Hotspur. Photo: Neil Graham.
Readings Deanne Rose against Tottenham Hotspur. Photo: Neil Graham.

Reading are used to being underdogs and they haven’t got the budget to compete with teams around them and yet I think they will do well again. Manager Kelly Chambers usually has a high turnover of players in the transfer window but she has managed to keep hold of the core of her squad. That consistency could be vital. Their pre-season has been inconsistent, largely because of injuries, but I think they will grow over the next few months. – BBC Sport

How to follow the FA Women’s Super League and Reading FC Women this season

You’ll be able to follow all the action at the Select Car Leasing Stadium this season with Andrew and the rest of the Football in Berkshire team. You may also want to check out our colleagues over at Reading Today who will have their own coverage this season.

As for the WSL as a whole, the BBC will show one fixture per week while Sky will broadcast two matches per weekend and the FA Player will stream the rest of the games.

There will be match highlights on the Women’s Football Show broadcast on Sunday nights on BBC One.

Football in Berkshire has a Breaking News WhatsApp Channel where we’ll send you updates on all the latest football news from the Royal County. You can join Breaking Berkshire Football News by clicking here

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