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Beard in temporary charge as Oxtoby cover

Matt Beard will manage Bristol City Women until the end of the 2020/21 season while Robins manager Tanya Oxtoby takes maternity leave.

Oxtoby has been at the helm for two-and-a-half years after taking charge in the summer of 2018 and will step away from her role temporarily to focus on the birth of her baby boy, who is due in March.

The Australian guided City Women to their highest Barclays FA Women’s Super League finish (6th) since the club rebranded under the Bristol Sport umbrella.

Beard brings a wealth of experience in the women’s game, most notably winning back-to-back Women’s Super League titles with Liverpool in 2013 and 2014. The Englishman has also managed at Millwall Lionesses, Chelsea and, most recently, West Ham United in the Barclays FAWSL.

The 43-year-old has also managed in the US, where he took charge at National Women’s Soccer League franchise Boston Breakers in 2016. Beard guided the Breakers to their highest ever NWSL finish (5th) in the 2016/17 campaign.

Beard takes over from Oxtoby with immediate effect and will be in charge for Bristol City Women’s trip to face Everton in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League on Sunday.

City Women Board Chairman Mark Ashton said: “Everyone at Bristol City wishes Tanya all the best as she and her partner look forward to the birth of their baby boy.

“It has been a challenging season so far and credit to Tanya, who despite contracting COVID-19, has remained focused and determined to drive the team forward.

“Allowing her to take a step back now will allow a significant handover period for Matt and we are delighted to have secured his services for the rest of the season during Tanya’s maternity leave.”

Oxtoby said: “Given the circumstances and where we are with the pandemic, I think it makes sense for the transition to begin and I’m fully supportive.

“I know Matt well. At the forefront of my mind when I knew this process was going to start was the playing group and making sure the transition was as seamless as possible.

“The Board have decided Matt is the right person to come in and I’ll support him 100% however he needs, the players as well because I want them to reach their potential. I want us to stay in the Barclays FAWSL and I’ll support, however I can, to make that happen.”

Beard said: “I’m really excited and looking forward to the challenge.

“I want to come in and make an impact straight away with the players, the staff and hopefully that impact can turn into results.

“I’ve got a great relationship with Tanya. She’s done a good job over the years here and it’s exciting for her to have her first baby.

“It gives me an opportunity for me to come in to hopefully turn things around in the league. I’m sure we’ll keep in contact over the course of the season.”


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