Leicester City: The new team in town hoping to make a statement – WSL Preview

Leicester City are hoping to avoid a relegation battle after earning promotion to the Women's Super League

The Women's Super League is set to start in just over 48 hours, with Manchester United and Reading kicking the season off on Friday. 

This season, there will be a new team in town. Leicester City earned promotion from the Women's Championship last year and will play in the WSL for the first time ever this campaign.

GiveMeSport Women runs through everything you need to know about the Foxes, including the club background, star players, fan opinion, and our predicted final position come May.

Leicester City's background

Leicester City were founded in 2004 as an independent club, achieving four successive promotions until they reached the FA Women’s Premier League in 2008.

The club then applied to join the Women’s Super League in 2009 for the inaugural season in 2011, but their bid was rejected. In the following years, Leicester played in the fourth and third tiers of women’s football in the UK, before successfully applying for the Women’s Championship in 2018.

Last August, the club was bought by King Power, the parent company of the Leicester City men’s team. Previously, the women’s team was independent, with an informal relationship with the Foxes. As a result of King Power’s purchase, Leicester City Women became fully professional.

This immediately had an impact on the pitch. In April, Leicester won the Women’s Championship and sealed promotion to the WSL.

Leicester are managed by Jonathan Morgan, who was appointed during the 2014-2015 season. The side will play the majority of their matches at the King Power Stadium this season. In the event of fixture clashes with the men’s team, they will play at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium.

Jonathan Morgan is the manager of Leicester City Women

How did last season go for Leicester City?

Leicester City played in the Women’s Championship last season. They only dropped points on four occasions, drawing with Sheffield United and Durham at the start of the season, before losing to London City Lionesses and Lewes.

By the time of their second defeat of the campaign, Leicester had already clinched the Championship title. The glorious moment came after the side defeated London City Lionesses 2-0 in April.

Leicester City won the Women's Championship last season

Who are Leicester City's standout players?

Natasha Flint scored an impressive 21 goals for Leicester last season, with 17 coming in the WSL. The forward was released from Manchester City aged 19, and she will be desperate to prove herself at the very top level this campaign.

Life-long Foxes fan Ashleigh Plumptre was a rock at the back during Leicester’s Championship-winning year. Her role in the team was so crucial that she was voted player of the season. She will need to be in top form again this year to keep the WSL’s best strikers out.

Ashleigh Plumptre was named Leicester City's player of the season

Who have Leicester City signed this summer?

Leicester have made signings to improve the squad in all positions. Their attack has been boosted by the additions of Jess Sigsworth from Manchester United and Abbi Grant from Birmingham.

In midfield, Molly Pike has arrived from Everton and Connie Scofield from Birmingham. Defenders Jemma Purfield, Georgia Brougham, and Abbie McManus have been signed from Bristol City, Everton and Manchester United respectively.

Jess Sigsworth has moved from Manchester United to Leicester City

What do Leicester City fans think?

Leicester fan Hannah Wellon revealed she was quietly confident of her side’s ability to have a successful first season in the WSL.

"I know Leicester are a great team and are prepared to prove themselves in their first season of the WSL, so I hope that they do just that," she said. "Of course, I’m hoping we stay up as a newly promoted side, but with this group, I don’t see staying up as being a challenge.

"Natasha Flint and Jess Sigsworth have stood out in preseason with their new link up top, along with Shannon O’Brien who joined us in January and has been phenomenal ever since. Paige Bailey-Gayle has phenomenal pace and was key for us all season leading up to her injury, and with her coming back I believe she’ll continue to provide this upcoming season.

"Being one of Leicester’s own, Ashleigh Plumptre has always been a wall at the back and among some of the fan favourites as a great leader, so I’d watch for her as well."

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Hannah predicts Leicester will avoid the drop back down to the Championship.

"I know Leicester aren’t coming up just to go back down, especially with the signings they’ve brought in and with the backing and support from the club and owners. I don’t want to be too confident or biased but I can see us finishing in the bottom half of the table comfortably, away from the relegation zone. Hopefully!"

GMSw prediction

Final position in the table – Eighth

Despite their status as the new team in town, Leicester will avoid a relegation battle. Thanks to the support and investment in the squad, they will finish eighth in the table.

Top scorer – Jess Sigsworth

The signing of Jess Sigsworth looks to be a brilliant one. She will be an excellent strike partner to Natasha Flint, and her experience of scoring in the WSL means she is likely to find the back of the net often.

Player of the season – Molly Pike

Maybe not the most obvious choice, but former Everton midfielder Molly Pike could enjoy a breakthrough campaign at Leicester this season. The 20-year-old progressed through the Chelsea youth academy, before making 17 first team appearances for the Toffees in her 18 months with the club, and then moving on loan to Bristol City.

She also has a wealth of youth international experience, representing England at an Under-17, Under-18 and Under-19 level.

If given a regular place in the starting 11, Pike’s quality in the middle of the pitch will become abundantly clear.

Leicester City are predicted to finish eighth in the Women's Super League
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