Reading Women kick off their Super League campaign this week with a trip to Merseyside to face Liverpool on Sunday.
The Royals finished in an impressive fifth position in the Women’s Super League in the 2018/19 season, three places above their opponents.
Kelly Chambers side also came agonisingly close to a trip to Wembley Stadium but were beaten on penalties in the FA Cup semi-final last season by West Ham United.
The team were put through their paces in a pre-season training camp in Spain where they played a friendly match against Valencia CF Femenino, who play in the top flight of Spanish Women’s football.
Reading’s first home match of the season, against last years runners-up Manchester City, will be broadcast live on BBC on Sunday, September 15.
“Pre-season has been a long one but it has been one of the best to date,” said Reading Women’s manager Kelly Chambers.
“It was hard and really challenged the players in many different ways, but one thing it definitely has done is brought the group closer together.
“The game against Valencia was great. It was nice to play a team with a diverse style that we aren’t used to back at home and a 2-2 draw is a decent result. We played well, had huge spells of possession and were very unlucky not to walk away with the win.
“I can honestly say that I have loved every minute of this year’s pre-season schedule and I truly believe the players have too. I am excited for the start of season and to see the players bring everything together they have learned and gained and to really be a force to compete within the WSL.
“We have obviously added some fantastic players to the group we had last season to improve as a squad, but I believe this group have added and gained so much during pre-season that will make us stronger than last year.”