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Portsmouth strengthen squad for challenge
 Women's Football News 11 Aug 2009
Portsmouth strengthen squad for challenge - 11 Aug 2009 - Women's Football NewsPortsmouth manager Vanessa Raynbird has made a number of summer signings to help boost their challenge in the Southern Division this season.
Pompey have been perennial promotion contenders in each of the last few seasons but may have been a little disappointed at finishing fifth last time around despite getting off to a good start.
Former England international striker Justine Lorton heads a number of newcomers at the club, having played at Bristol Academy last season, and she is joined by Candy Hopson from Truro City and Bournemouth defender Georgie Hoban. Kirsty Palfreyman has signed from Chelsea while Molly Booth and Lysette Russell move up from the Hampshire Centre of Excellence. Former Liverpool and Chester midfielder Sarah McDonnell will join up with the squad in September when returning from her RAF posting.
Portsmouth have been further boosted by the news that highly rated young striker Zoe Nash has returned after missing all of last season with an injury and has played in their pre-season friendlies.
The club has introduced a further senior team this season, making three in all. This will be made up primarily from their Under-16 side of last year, who now progress to women's football. They will compete in the Fourth Division of the Hampshire Women's League and are to be managed by Tony Tull and Chris Dowling, with Chris Skudder as coach.
Katie Poore, who managed the reserves last season, is hoping to start playing again after a two-year break with a bad ankle injury. She was first team captain before her injury and will be working hard to get back into the squad. Steve Friend has been appointed as Reserve team manager and Paul Ascombe is a newly appointed coach for the team.
"Our aim as ever is to gain promotion into the National Division," says Vanessa, "but we realise that we have to be more consistent than we were last year.
"One our day we were as good as any team in our league and have to make sure we sustain the same quality of play throughout the year. We struggled at the latter end of last season with many injuries but have bolstered the squad this year to give us more strength in depth, which is vital at our level.
"This season, we have linked with Portsmouth College and set up a Girls Football Academy. This now means that we have a complete structure in place which will enhance the development of players in all age brackets."

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