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Everton striker Nikita Parris is set to seal a season-long loan move to Manchester City.
The Centre of Excellence graduate will spend the 2015 FA WSL campaign in the top flight as she bids to force her way into Mark Sampson's England squad ahead of the World Cup in Canada.
Since making her Everton debut in the Champions League qualifying tournament in Lithuania in August 2010, Parris has steadily grown into a pivotal part of both Mo Marley's and successor Andy Spence's senior squad. Such was her impact over the last two WSL seasons, she was named Player of the Year in May 2014, an award chosen by her team mates.
Toffees boss Andy Spence said that while the decision to allow Parris to leave was a difficult one, he felt duty bound to offer her the best possible chance of sealing a place on the plane to Canada. "Although she hasn't reached the senior national team, Nikita has big ambitions to be part of that squad particularly with it being a World Cup year," he said.
"She felt that that opportunity will only arise by being a WSL 1 player for this coming season so although I felt that we could still give her the platform to progress like we have always done, Nikita was adamant that she needed to be in WSL 1 therefore reluctantly we decided we would give her that chance to do that and spend a year on loan.
"Obviously it gives her a good chance to be in that spotlight which is what she's after but I'm sure Nikita acknowledges and recognises that as a Club we have worked really hard to give her this opportunity.
"We know as a result we are losing, for a season, a good player but we very much expect that Nikita will recognise that we have given her this chance and, in 12 months' time, will be looking to come back to Everton."
In the meantime, Spence has moved to strengthen his squad with the signings of Danielle Lea and Megan Alexander.
Defender Lea joins from Manchester City while Alexander, who can play anywhere down the left, has arrived from Liverpool and both are eager to help the Blues in their bid to return to the top flight at the first time of asking.
"Coming here is definitely a great opportunity for me to get game time and help Everton get back in WSL1," said Lea. "I got injured at Manchester City so playing-wise, I think it's a good opportunity for me to get games under my belt as I've been out nine months.
"We have a very good, strong team here and everyone was shocked when Everton got relegated so I think we'll have a great chance of getting promoted.
"I know a few of the girls already, like Paige Williams as well as Vicky and Kelly Jones from previous clubs so it's been easy for me to fit in. All the girls are really nice and I get on well with them. I'm sure it will be a good season for us."
Fellow new arrival Alexander is equally pleased to have signed for the Toffees, and believes her experience on loan at WSL2 side Oxford last season will help her adapt quickly. "I'm a massive Blue so that was always an attraction for me," she explained. "When I spoke to Andy, the way he wants the club to run and his philosophy is just like mine.
"Liverpool loaned me out to Oxford and I played nine or 10 games there. So I already know a lot about the league and the teams we will come up against, especially some of the players too.
"We have been training since the end of December and I feel like each week we are getting better and better. There have been some new girls here at the club so it's a case of getting to know everyone. But it's like a family, you just fit in. You don't feel awkward and I've enjoyed every minute of it.
"Having already trained with the team and seen what players we have, I have no fears that we'll go straight back up."
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