Women's Super League Two 2015 club-by-club season preview

By Andrew Aloia and Tom GarryBBC Sport
Sunderland Ladies
Sunderland lifted the Women's Super League Two title in 2014

Double the chances of promotion, add a sprinkling of international talent and you have the recipe for a bigger and better Women's Super League Two season.

The 10 teams that make up English football's second tier have never had more to play for, nor has the level of competition been higher outside the game's top flight.

For the first time, the top two teams will be promoted to WSL 1 as part of a two-year process to expand the competition from eight teams to 10 by 2017.

Everton, who won the Women's FA Cup as recently as 2010, lead the way as they look to make an immediate return to WSL 1 after their 21-year stay in the top flight ended last season.

But the Toffees face stiff opposition for a place in the top two, with an influx of internationals joining the ranks.

In a busy close season, clubs have moved to bolster their squads, with Yeovil Town setting the standard by making what they called the "biggest signing in club history" when they brought in England defender Corinne Yorston from Champions League quarter-finalists Bristol Academy.

BBC Sport takes a look at the clubs battling it out in WSL 2 this term.

Aston Villa Ladies

Last season: Fourth

Villa factfile
Home groundManagerCaptain
Sutton Coldfield Central GroundRonald MellorDani Petrovic

Defender Jade Richards told BBC Sport: "Our hope for this season is promotion.

"Pre-season was based on playing teams above us so we could get that target of where we have to be and see what they are doing and how they play.

"We are all buzzing, we just want to get going now."

Opening fixture: Everton Ladies (h) Wednesday, 18 March

Doncaster Rovers Belles

Doncaster Rovers Bells huddle
Doncaster Rovers Belles finished two points behind champions Sunderland in 2014

Last season: Runners-up

Belles factfile
Home groundHead coachCaptain
Keepmoat StadiumGlen HarrisLeandra Little

Belles midfielder Sophie Barker: "The aim for this season has to be promotion, that is the massive thing that I came here to do.

"The Belles finished second last season and just missed out. Hopefully I can be that key player to help with promotion."

Opening fixture: Durham Women (h) Thursday, 19 March

Durham Women FC

Last season: Sixth

Wildcats factfile
Home groundManager Captain
New Ferens ParkLee SandersSarah Wilson

Durham goalkeeper Helen Alderson: "It is a really positive atmosphere and it is an ambitious squad. It is really important to build on last season.

"While finishing sixth surprised a lot of people, the aim is to build on that."

Opening fixture: Doncaster Rovers Belles (a) Thursday, 19 March

Everton Ladies

Gabby George (right)
Gabby George (r) and Everton were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal in last year's FA Women's Cup final at Stadium:MK before being relegated at the end of the season

Last season: Finished eighth in WSL 1 and were relegated to WSL 2

The Toffees factfile
Home groundManagerCaptain
Select Security StadiumAndy SpenceMichelle Hinnigan

Manager Andy Spence told BBC 5 live: "We are in a really good place going into the first game - we are exactly where we wanted to be in terms of our preparation.

"There is positive outlook from everyone, we are very much looking forward to doing well this season and obviously looking to get back to WSL 1 as soon as possible. We aim to really show what a good, young squad we have.

"The league is a key one for us, but obviously the FA Cup is a competition we did really well in last season and we have been to the semi-finals before. Every competition is crucial to us."

Opening fixture: Aston Villa Ladies (a) Wednesday, 18 March

London Bees

Last season: 10th

Bees factfile
Home groundHead coachCaptain
The HiveJulian BroomesSophie Harris

Teenage midfielder Andria Georgiou told the league website:external-link "We are in a better position this season than we were last season at this point. We've signed a number of new players over the summer and so far they have integrated well with the squad.

"Our pre-season has gone well and we are improving all the time. I'm very excited for the start of the season now that is it getting closer and closer to the opening game."

Opening fixture: Millwall Lionesses (a) Wednesday, 18 March

Millwall Lionesses

Dionne Lennon
Defender Dionne Lennon is Millwall's longest-serving player

Last season: Eighth

The Lions factfile
Home groundHead coachCaptain
The DenDan MlinarDionne Lennon

Midfielder Ciara Sherwood told the club website:external-link "We have had a good pre-season and we are only going to get stronger as the season progresses.

"We've signed Megan Goss from London Bees and she is only 18 and showing a lot of promise. We have also signed Rinsola Babajide from Crystal Palace. I'd say those two youngsters will be our players to watch this season."

Opening fixture: London Bees (h) Wednesday, 18 March

Oxford United Women

Last season: Ninth

The U's factfile
Home groundManagerCaptain
Abingdon United FCLes TaylorSahara Osborne-Ricketts

Oxford United defender Sahara Osborne-Ricketts told BBC Radio Oxford: "We learnt a lot from our first season so we know what to expect.

"Hopefully we can push on and have a better finish than we did last season.

"Players believe in themselves a bit more, they are more confident. We know what we can do - if we are on our game we are good enough to give anyone a good test."

Opening fixture: Watford Ladies (h) Thursday, 19 March

Reading FC Women

Fran Kirby
Fran Kirby was the top scorer in England's top two divisions last season with 29 goals in 22 games

Last season: Third

The Royals factfile
Home groundManagerCaptain
The Rushmoor Community Stadium, Farnborough FCKelly Chambers Georgie Giddings

Reading captain Georgie Giddings: "What we need this year is consistency and that's something that teams across the board in WSL 2 need really.

"I think we've got a better chance of promotion this year. We've got a really good squad and I think last year it was a bit of a case of the unknown with players not really knowing much about the opposition.

"Now we've got a team that's strong enough throughout and everybody is raring to go."

Opening fixture: Yeovil Town Ladies (a) Thursday, 19 March

Watford Ladies

Last season: Seventh

The Hornets factfile
Home ground(s)ManagerCaptain
Berkhamsted FC or Vicarage RoadJohn SalomonMegan Wynne

Watford goalkeeper Cherie Rowlands told BBC Sport: "Realistically, we want to be aiming for mid-table and maybe fourth place. We've got great girls this year.

"Obviously we'd like to go for promotion, but realistically we're looking at fourth."

Opening fixture: Oxford United (a) Thursday, 19 March

Yeovil Town Ladies

Natalie Haigh
Natalie Haigh was named Yeovil's Player's Player and Supporters' Player of the Season last term

Last season: Fifth

The Glovers factfile
Home groundManagerCaptain
Sherborne Town FCJamie SherwoodNatalie Haigh

Yeovil defender Corinne Yorston: "I would not have joined a team that I didn't think was going to be successful in WSL 2 but this is a club that is extremely ambitious and I needed that.

"You can feel the excitement brewing around the place and I think we all just want to get down to business and show what we've been working on in pre-season training."

Opening fixture: Reading FC Women (h) Thursday, 19 March

There will be 16 WSL commentaries live on BBC 5 live Sports Extra this season, starting with Aston Villa Ladies v Everton Ladies on Wednesday, 18 March.