Northern Ireland international Laura Rafferty has joined Bristol City on a season-long loan.
The defender will swap the seagull of Brighton for the robin of Bristol this campaign in an exciting new move.
Rafferty returns to action following a long spell on the sidelines after suffering an ACL injury last summer. Now, she’s ready to put some minutes in the tank and enjoy a new Women’s Super League season.
Tanya Oxtoby targeted the 24-year-old in a bid to bolster her defensive options. The Vixens struggled in the league last campaign, finishing with just two wins and three draws.
Capped 27 times for her country, Rafferty will bring experience and composure to Bristol’s backline. She could be deployed to play a part in plugging their leaky defence from last time out.
Last season saw City concede the most amount of goals in the WSL with 38. With a fresh slate ahead, Oxtoby and Co will be targeting a higher finish in the league table.
“I’m excited to start a new chapter here at Bristol City,” Rafferty said in her first interview. “For me the environment at the club is massive and it’s been a tough two years for me, so I’m looking forward to a fresh start.
“I’ve been working really hard throughout pre-season to get myself ready for the start of the season and the opportunity came about for me to get some more football and come to Bristol City, and it was a no brainer.”
Since her injury, Rafferty has been working hard to minimise the chances of a nightmarish repeat.
Speaking to Her Football Hub’s Georgia Goulding last year, she opened up on her recovery plans.
“My next aim for rehab is to start trying to slim down to cause less stress on my knees,” Rafferty explained. “It’s not a three-month injury, its a nine, 10-month injury or more, so you have to use your time wisely.
“That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned: Be productive every day and better yourself in other areas.”
The Northern Ireland ace also recently joined the Common Goal organisation. A platform built to provide lovers of sport with a community, sharing the aim of tackling social hardships.
Rafferty will be eligible to play in Bristol’s WSL opener against Everton on Sunday.