Amy Rodgers battling for the ball during the FA Women's Championship game between Sheffield United and Liverpool at Technique Stadium in Chesterfield, England -Paul Bonser/Sports Press Photo

OPINION: Six FA Women’s Championship free agents who would be great additions

The FA Women’s Championship has been a hub of activity in recent weeks with news of player movement almost being a daily occurrence.

At the end of the season, FA Women’s Championship clubs collectively saw up to 70 players move on which has made for a very busy summer transfer market.

A number of players who left their respective clubs at the end of the season have since found new employers, however, here are six free agents who we feel would make good additions this summer.

Leanne Cowan

Left-back Cowan was released by London City Lionesses at the end of the season after being with the club since their inception. The 25-year-old was arguably one of the best-performing full-backs in the FA Women’s Championship during the curtailed 2019/2020 season but she is a player who has too often been hit with injuries.

In the 15 league games which she started for London City Lionesses, the club recorded clean sheets in more than a third and a fully fit, injury free Leanne Cowan can be a real asset to any side in the league. Cowan has an abundance of quality, she just needs more luck in avoiding the treatment room.

Amber Hughes

Former Coventry United attacker Hughes has impressed in her two years in the second tier. The player netted seven goals in 32 appearances for a Coventry United side who have found it tough going since their promotion to the FA Women’s Championship in 2019.

Hughes’ goalscoring form and general creativity saw her once pick up an FA Women’s Championship Player of the Month award and when put into the right team, around the right players, she could really make her mark on the division. Hughes is not one of the league’s household names but she could be in the future and she deserves another chance in the second tier.

Sammy Quayle

One of the more surprising departures at Lewes this summer was the exit of Quayle. The full-back was a consistent performer in a Lewes defence which was breached on just 22 occasions in the FA Women’s Championship this season. The Welsh defender made 16 league appearances for The Rookettes this season, scoring one of their best goals of the campaign in December’s home win against Charlton Athletic. Quayle is a player who leads by example, a quality footballer to have in your team.

Capped by Wales on 10 occasions, Quayle is now very much hitting the peak of her career. She has been out of the international picture for a while but she could yet be a real asset for another well-established club in the FA Women’s Championship and for her country.

Amy Rodgers

Former Liverpool midfielder Rodgers is a player who looked set to remain with the club for a renewed promotion push next season before departing in unfortunate circumstances. The 21-year-old had been on The Reds’ books for five years, coming through their youth ranks to become a first team regular. Rodgers has more than 20 top flight games under her belt while she scored three goals in 14 appearances for Liverpool in this season’s FA Women’s Championship.

Rodgers is a player with huge potential who can make things happen both with her creativity for others and with her goalscoring ability. The midfielder should again be playing at the high end of the FA Women’s Championship next season but there is no reason why she cannot aim to return to the Barclays FA Women’s Super League in the long term. Rodgers is arguably one of the very best free agents who are still available this summer.

Jade Pennock

The departure of attacker Pennock was one of two real hammer blows dealt to Sheffield United this summer. She opted to move on along with the club’s top scorer Katie Wilkinson, a player who has since joined Coventry United. Pennock is a quality attacking player who has weighed in with 23 goals in 50 FA Women’s Championship games for Sheffield United whilst providing numerous assists. She is a versatile player who could operate in various attacking roles.

Whichever club acquires the services of Pennock this summer are inheriting a real star. The player is one of the very best that the FA Women’s Championship has to offer and at the age of 28, she has an awful lot left to give.

Melissa Johnson

It was a frustrating 2020/2021 for forward Johnson who made just nine league starts in her one-season stay with Sheffield United. That being said, the player still managed to find the back of the net on five occasions in the FA Women’s Championship. After firing Aston Villa to promotion in 2019/2020, there was plenty of expectancy for Johnson at new club Sheffield United and while she delivered goals, it just didn’t really work out the way that she will have wanted.

Johnson will have no trouble finding a new club this summer. She is an accomplished FA Women’s Championship forward, one of the league’s most knowledgable players and a big asset for any club to have. Johnson guarantees goals wherever she goes and she would naturally be one of the first players that would come to mind when looking for a goalscorer.

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