Laura Rafferty of Brighton and Hove warms-up in the winter sunshine. Brighton and Hove Women v Chelsea Women WSL football match, Stadium, Crawley, UK - 09 Dec 2018 Photo: Sean Ryan for The FA

Brighton & Hove Albion defender joins Bristol City on loan

Bristol City manager Tanya Oxtoby has completed the signing of Brighton & Hove Albion defender Laura Rafferty on a season-long loan deal according to reports on The Robins’ official website.

The 24-year-old Northern Ireland international moves to Twerton Park in a bid to get some much-needed football under her belt after missing the whole of last season.

Rafferty sustained an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury during Brighton & Hove Albion’s 2019/2020 pre-season programme which ended her campaign before it had even started. Albion boss Hope Powell is thought to have been keen for the defender to be playing regular football this season. The fact that she has been sent out on loan may highlight the fact that Powell cannot guarantee Rafferty regular first team opportunities this season.

Upon joining Bristol City, Rafferty told the club’s official media sources “I’m excited to start a new chapter here at Bristol City. 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.

“Having spoken to Tanya, the club seems like a great fit for me with the philosophy of the club and how they want to play on the pitch, but also the environment that they have built off it.

“It’s a big change and challenge for me, but one I probably needed mentally and I’m excited to get going on the pitch with my new teammates.”

Rafferty could go straight into the Bristol City squad to take on Everton at Twerton Park tomorrow afternoon in the club’s opening fixture of the 2020/2021 Barclays FA Women’s Super League season.

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