Willie Kirk believes Bristol Academy can stay up

Willie Kirk
Willie Kirk guided Hibernian Ladies to the Scottish Cup final and a second-place finish in the Scottish Women's Premier League in 2013

New boss Willie Kirk has said saving Bristol Academy from relegation will be a difficult but not impossible task.

The former Hibernian Ladies manager was named as Dave Edmondson's successor on Tuesday, with the Vixens bottom of the table and without a point from four Women's Super League One matches.

"It's a very tough challenge," Kirk told BBC Radio Bristol.

"Seventh position will be definitely be viewed as a success. It's a huge challenge but not insurmountable."

Kirk, who Vixens chairman Arnold likens to England Women's head coach and former Bristol boss Mark Sampson, spent almost five years at Hibs and won the Scottish women's football manager of the year award in 2013.

Bristol Academy defender Frankie Brown
Bristol Academy defender Frankie Brown previously played under Willie Kirk at Hibernian Ladies

Bristol Academy have lost all seven games to date in 2015, been knocked out of the Champions League and FA Cup and have conceded 27 goals and scored just four.

Scotsman Kirk will be in the stands on Wednesday for Bristol's match at Birmingham City - the only other side in the top flight without a win this season - and will take charge of his first game at home against Arsenal on 9 May.

"I'm flying in to Birmingham just to meet the players," he said.

"Hopefully next Thursday I can start preparing the team for the Arsenal game."

As spectator at Stoke Gifford Stadium on Saturday when Bristol slumped to a 5-2 loss to Notts County, Kirk quickly identified the team's fitness as a major early focus on his arrival.

"It's a big aspect of the English game and will will need to address it quickly," he said.

However, with a nine-week break for this summer's World Cup starting after they host Arsenal next week, Kirk also believes he has the luxury of time to impose himself on the squad.

"The last thing I want to do is change too much too quickly, as that could do more damage than leaving things as they are," he said.

"We have a two-month break after the next two games and that is a godsend because that is time when I can take a slow approach to changing things to my style and method."

Top Stories