BOLTON Wanderers Ladies might have to get used to the high life after passing their last international challenge with flying colours.

Chris Knights’ side came back from a prestige friendly against the Maltese national team with plenty of plaudits last month.

A 2-1 defeat at a national stadium that had recently played host to a Euro 2020 qualifier against Spain was by no means a bad return in a trip sponsored by the University of Bolton.

And with their pre-season schedule already set to include some big-name opposition, including a home clash with Scottish first division side Motherwell, Wanderers are already shaping up well for next season.

“I think a few of the players could handle playing in Malta every week,” said Knights, looking forward to his third campaign as manager. “They could certainly get used to the warm weather.

“In the actual game they worked hard, did well. When you go up against a national team like that, I think we were aware it could go one of two ways, but they coped with the heat, coped with the standard of opposition.

“To put it into context, one of their team plays full-time for Roma. They flew in from all over Europe for the game, which was a warm-up for one of their own qualifiers.

“It’s the highest level some of the players will play in their football career, so to be invited and to go on the trip was a real honour.”

Malta scored either side of half time before Ruby Howard grabbed a consolation in the 80th minute for Wanderers, who have now returned to the UK to continue training through the summer.

The team enjoyed two big cup runs last season but the weight of fixtures ended up counting against them in the league.

Six new signings are now planned for next season, with Knights hoping the squad will be able to improve given an extra year together.

“Hopefully we can push on next year,” Knights said. “We fizzled out a bit in the league but I think we can get some stability and build on what is a very young team.

“They are gelling as a team and getting together as friends off the field as well as in a footballing environment, which is great.”