Reading Women season preview: Royals look to break into top four
Photo Credit:(Gettyimages/Catherine Ivill)

Reading Women struggled last season to compete at the top of the Women's Super League as they finished 13 points adrift of Birmingham City Women.

However, they will be hopeful of making strides towards braking into that top-four this season.

Last season

The Royals finished a massive 20 points behind Manchester City Women who finished second and securing the final Champions League spot.

If Reading are to push up the table ad mount a serious challenge on the top two they will have to ensure Adams Park is a fortress when oppositions visit.

It is at the back where Reading will have to improve as they conceded almost double the number of goals as any other team in the top of the WSL.

Kelly Chambers will be relying on Fara Williams to be firing on all cylinders like last season to propel the Royals into a European spot.

Transfer business

The Royals had a relatively quiet summer as they continue to show loyalty to the players they already have in the squad that have served them well over the last few seasons.

However, they have added Angharad James to their ranks as the solid midfielder departed a struggling Everton Women side.

James should sure up a leaky defence as she can confidently protect the defence as well as starting a swift attack.

If James can put in consistent perforamnces then the Royals should make a better challenge at breaking into the top four.

Player to watch - Fara Williams

The forever reliable striker has consistently put in good performances for the Royals and scored crucial goals.

Williams is the most capped England international in either the Lionesses or the Men's national team.

If the Royals are to be serious contenders for a top-four finish they will need Williams to be hitting her top form and improving on last season when she managed 12 goals.

One for the future - Kristine Bjørdal Leine

After just signing this summer Bjørdal Leine is a young ball-playing centre-back who will look to bring a sense of calm to the Royals' defence.

Reading may have signed a young star this summer that has gone under the radar and if she can integrate into the squad quickly Reading could surprise a lot of teams this season.

Bjørdal Leine could be a leader despite her tender age of just 22-years old and should bring organisation to a poor Reading defence.

Predicted finish

The Royals have recruited well this summer and with Birmingham losing Ellen White to Manchester City they would have been hoping to surpass them into fourth place.

However, with Manchester United Women entering the league this season with an excellent squad it seems the competitiveness in the WSL is only going to increase.

The Royals may sure up their defence this season, however, it seems Manchester City and Arsenal Women will be too good as well as Chelsea Women likely to improve on last season.

It may be a season of endeavour for the Royals but a European spot seems too far out of reach this season and a fifth or sixth-place finish will be more likely.