OXFORD United will end a six-month wait for a competitive game when they kick off the 2020/21 season on Sunday.

The U’s travel to Gillingham on the opening day of the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier campaign.

United will look very different from the last time they played a competitive fixture – a 0-0 stalemate with Portsmouth on March 8 – having added a host of new recruits on and off the pitch.

Manager Liam Gilbert has added four people to his backroom staff and bolstered his squad with several exciting signings.

The latest through the door is former Spurs Ladies playmaker Abbie Bensted, who signed on Wednesday after featuring in United’s final pre-season friendly, a 1-0 defeat to AFC Wimbledon.

The attacker, who has also played in America, revealed her new surroundings have left a good first impression.

She said: “When I spoke to Liam, I had one or two clubs to decide between, and he said to me, ‘look, where are you going to improve? Where are you going to find yourself pushing your game and developing?’.

“It was quite clear to me from the training sessions and the standard and intensity of everything surrounding Oxford, this was just a much better setup for me to improve my game than the other options I had.”

Bensted has high hopes for United this season and revealed she is already feeling the benefits.

She said: “I think the squad is absolutely quality.

“Even training with them, I’ve felt myself improve already.

“The intensity and pace at which they play helps my game and helps me to think on my feet.”

United start with successive away matches, before welcoming Crawley Wasps to Court Place Farm on October 4.

That game could be watched by a limited number of spectators and Gilbert urged fans to come out.

He said: “We play a nice brand of football and I think people seem to enjoy watching the way we play.”