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Wales quartet boost Bristol Academy

Wales quartet Lauren Townsend, Hayley Ladd, Nadia Lawrence and Sharla Passariello have all joined Bristol Academy WFC in a squad revamp ahead of the quarter-finals.

Dave Edmondson welcomes Sharla Passariello (left) and Nadia Lawrence to Bristol
Dave Edmondson welcomes Sharla Passariello (left) and Nadia Lawrence to Bristol ©Bristol Academy WFC

Bristol Academy WFC have looked across the English border to Wales for four new signings as they revamp their squad ahead of their UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-final with 1. FFC Frankfurt.

Since beating FC Barcelona in November to reach the last eight of Europe for the first time, Bristol have had major player upheaval in the FA Women's Super League close season. Of those that faced Barcelona, Corinne Yorston, Natalia, Natasha Harding, Jemma Rose and Laura del Río have all left along with Alex Windell, putting major holes in the squad prior to the two-legged encounter with three-time European champions Frankfurt.

Edmondson, Watts on beating Barça

However, Bristol have been able to tie down Mary Earps, Angharad James, Sophie Ingle, Nikki Watts, Grace McCatty, Jasmine Matthews, Loren Dykes and Frankie Brown to new contracts.

On top of that, on Tuesday they announced the arrival of Wales defender Lauren Townsend from Cardiff City LFC to follow last week's signings of her compatriots Hayley Ladd from Coventry City LFC, Nadia Lawrence of Icelandic club ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar and one-time trainee forward Sharla Passariello, returning from the United States.

Bristol manager Dave Edmondson, whose side welcome Frankfurt to Ashton Gate on 21 March before visiting Germany eight days later, will now have nine Welsh senior and youth internationals to pick from, with Passariello, Townsend, Ladd and Lawrence alongside James, Dykes, Ingle, Georgia Evans and Alice Evans.

Coach Dave Edmondson on the new signings ...
Hayley Ladd: "Hayley is an experienced international with real quality as well as versatility. She is a winner, with a bite and determination that I am looking to make a characteristic of the team this year."

Sharla Passariello: "Sharla is a strong and powerful striker who will add another dimension to our play."

Nadia Lawrence: "Nadia is an ambitious and determined player with good technical ability and a real desire to improve herself as a player."

Lauren Townsend: "Lauren is a good technical player who can offer an attacking threat from defence. Her ability and attitude has thoroughly impressed us in training. She is a strong addition to the team, one I am looking forward to working with over the season."