Albion are likely to go back into the transfer market as they plan for their Barclays FAWSL season.

But boss Hope Powell recognises competition is tougher than ever – both in the quest for players and points.

Albion have so far retained 17 of last season’s squad and signed Dutch international Danique Kerkdijk, ex-Notts County goalkeeper Megan Walsh and Denmark under-23 defender Matilde Skovsen.

Powell said: “The squad cap has gone up to 25 players now so we have scope for that.

“The players we have kept, it is their third season in WSL and it is quite challenging for players.

“They got us this far and we want them to have another go but we want to build on what we have got.

“The challenge for us is getting the right sort of player at the right sort of money.

“The window is open until September and the clock keeps ticking.

“We are still looking. You think you are close and then you’re not so it is quite challenging.

“No disrespect to the agents but you don’t actually speak to the player.

“You have to go through somebody. For me it is quite an experience.

“The three signings we have got we think are decent but we are still looking for a couple more players.”

The top-tier lost Yeovil and gained Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur over the summer and neither newcomer will be happy just to survive.

Powell said: “They are brands. They are going to attract players through who they are. We recognise that.”

This time last year, most Albion players were getting used to the physical demands of full-time training.

They have progressed a lot in a debut WSL season which saw them score notable wins over Liverpool and Birmingham City in the second half of the campaign.

Powell, whose team kick-off their pre-season fixtures with a game behind closed doors this weekend, can see the difference between now and this time last year.

She said: “They had an off-season programme so they are in better position going into the pre-season.

“That is encouraging and I really think the work they did last season helped us.

“Certainly after Christmas, we came back a lot stronger.

“Hopefully we can build on that but we have to recognise everybody is trying to do the same thing. Everybody will be fitter, stronger, faster.”