Mark Sampson/ Manager/ Bristol Academy

Ahead of the New FA WSL Season 2013, caught up with Vixens’ manager Mark Sampson.

The first team are back in training this week, is everyone looking forward to the start of the new season?

The players have had a long break so the whole group is eager to get back on the training pitch. As with the start of every season there is anticipation and excitement building up to a new campaign but the key is to focus on working hard in every area to be in the best possible condition for all the challenges a season at the top levels brings with it.

What preparations will the team be taking to be ready for the start of the new season?

The main part of the preparation is the quality of work on the training ground we need to make sure we work hard every session. The pre-season period is always tricky because we need to be aware of International breaks which mean you don’t have much working time with the full group. But we have learnt from previous pre seasons and this time round we will manage our working time to make sure we get through all the work we have planned.

What changes have been made to the squad? Have any players left from last season?

We have been a settled group now for two years, which means we are building on strong foundations. Every year we have been successful in adding players to the squad that have improved the quality of the team and added to the group in terms of character and we have done that again this season with Lucy [Staniforth]. We will be adding two more players to the squad which again will help us. It is important for me so see our younger players coming through to the first team so this season I hope some of our younger players who have been developing over the last 18 months can continue their development and compete for a first team place.

What are your expectations for this season?

The league will be even more competitive this season, looking at each club they have all strengthened their squads so every game will be tough. We will need to be as close to our best in every game to be competitive and that must be our focus starting with the FA Cup Fifth round. We have moved forward every season as a team and that must be our objective this season, it is also important we look to integrate some of our younger players into the team who have been developing well over the last months.

She Kicks – the online community for women’s football

Would you like to read more women’s football news just like this? Sign up to receive the She Kicks Women’s Football newsletter