The 2022/23 campaign in Leicester’s second in the top flight, and their first full season with Lydia Bedford at the helm.
The Foxes narrowly escaped the drop last term after enjoying a surge in form following Bedford’s appointment, but tailed off once more before the season’s climax.
How will Leicester fare this time around? Here’s 90min’s 2022/23 WSL season preview for the Foxes.
Natasha Flint finished as the Foxes’s top scorer during their 2020/21 promotion-winning campaign, netting 17 Championship goals. Razor sharp in the 18-yard box but with an eye for a long-range spectacular, Flint is a huge scoring threat for Leicester across the pitch.
A former member of both the Manchester United and Manchester City academy and a Continental Cup winner with the latter at the age of 18, the 26-year-old has taken the scenic route back to the WSL following her 2015 release by City. She had spells with National League outfits Fylde and Blackburn – registering a ridiculous scoring record with the latter with 70 goals in 66 appearances – before signing for Leicester in 2020 and sealing promotion in her debut season with the club.
With Jess Sigsworth still facing time on the sideline after rupturing her ACL in February, Flint could be Leicester’s primary source of goals this term.
Shannon O’Brien has quickly risen through the football pyramid, winning promotion to the Championship with Coventry United in 2018/19, before making the switch to Leicester in January 2021 and helping the club reach the WSL that season.
Still just 20-years-old, the forward made 21 league appearances for the Foxes last term, was rewarded with her maiden England Under 23 call up in February and was named the club’s player of the season.
Lydia Bedford took the Leicester hot seat in November 2021, with the club rock bottom of the WSL after losing all eight of their opening league fixtures. She steered the club to safety thanks to four wins in her first seven matches in charge.
Prior to being appointed Leicester boss, the former PE teacher and WSL’s youngest manager had worked for the FA. She had spells in charge of various England youth teams, and coached a very young Chloe Kelly during her time at Middlesex Centre of Excellence.
Some of the biggest arrivals at Leicester this summer came behind the scenes, with former Everton boss Willie Kirk brought in as director of football, and Lydia Bedford committing her future to the club with a new two-year deal.
Josie Green, Aileen Whelan and Erin Simon will all bring added WSL experience, while Manchester United youngster Carrie Jones has the potential to be an exciting loan addition. But having only narrowly avoided the drop last term, it remains to be seen whether the Foxes have strengthened enough to preserve their WSL status again.
The 2021/22 campaign was Leicester’s first in the WSL after winning the Championship the previous season. The Foxes ultimately avoided relegation by two points.
Having only just beaten the drop last season and enduring a torrid end to the campaign, with six defeats in their final seven league matches, it’ll likely be another relegation battle this term for the Foxes.
Leicester have an impressive setup overall, and the addition of Willie Kirk brings strong WSL experience behind the scenes. But do they have enough strength in depth in the squad to stay afloat, given how those around them have strengthened this summer? Arguably not.