The FA's Women’s Weekend Football initiative takes centre stage today with City preparing to host West Ham at the Academy Stadium as the Super League cranks back into gear.

Fittingly, there are rousing words from City and England skipper Steph Houghton on what promises to be another thrilling showcase for the women’s game.

There’s also an intriguing double dose of transfer gossip as well as an encouraging message from national boss Gareth Southgate to City teenager Phil Foden.

News

skysports.comHoughton: Women’s Football Weekend is Fantastic

"Manchester City captain Steph Houghton says Women's Football Weekend is another ideal opportunity to showcase the women's game.

"Just a few days after a crowd of more than 77,000 - a record for a Lionesses home international - watched England Women lose 2-1 to Germany, a mouth-watering fixture list awaits on Sunday.

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"The first Women's Football Weekend, which is timed to coincide with a pause in the Premier League and English Football League calendars, includes the Merseyside derby at Anfield while Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will stage the maiden North London derby Super League clash.

"There is also a repeat of last season's FA Cup final between Manchester City and West Ham.

"I always thought the potential was there for us to grow the game as much as we can but not at this rate," said Houghton.

"I think over the last few years especially [the growth of the women's game] has been amazing.

"I think the introduction of a women's football weekend this weekend is fantastic. It encourages fans to come and support the women's games around the country.

"There are some big games including our one against West Ham at our home stadium so for us in general I think women's football is really on the up."

whufc.comMiddag relishing challenging City reunion

"Tessel Middag is looking forward to heading north and taking on friends and former colleagues when West Ham United visit Manchester City on Sunday. 

WATCH: Houghton: Big week lies ahead

"Matt Beard’s Irons play at the Academy Stadium in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League this weekend, giving Middag the first opportunity to take on her former side since joining the Hammers from City last summer. 

"Injury ruled the Dutch international out of the contests last season, including the historic match between the two sides in the 2019 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in May, but Middag is excited to take to the pitch against City this weekend.

“I saw a tweet from the Manchester City official supporter’s club that they were looking forward to seeing me, which was brilliant and really nice,” Middag told whufc.com. “It will be great to see some old teammates and also some old friends who I met during my time in Manchester. It will be one big reunion and I’m looking forward to the game. 

“However, I’m the opponent this weekend so I’m hoping to help West Ham exploit any weaknesses. I’m looking forward to the game.”

thefa.com - City eye summit

"Just one point separates the league’s top three sides after five rounds, with Manchester City down in third based on goals scored alone.

"They will look to bump up their tally, therefore, when West Ham come to town, a side they have a stellar record against in recent campaigns.

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"Last year they won both matches against the Irons, with a total aggregate score of 10-2 in favour of the Citizens.

"But Matthew Beard’s outfit are a tough nut to crack on the road; they have lost only one of their last five games away from home and will look to consign City to another defeat after they were beaten by Arsenal last time out."

Transfer gossip

skysports.comCity track Leicester duo

"Leicester duo Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu are among a number of centre-back options being considered by Manchester City.

"The pair have been superb for the Foxes during an impressive start to the season under Brendan Rodgers that has put them second in the Premier League table after 12 games.

"City are fourth - a point behind Leicester and nine behind league-leaders Liverpool - after having injury problems at centre-back.

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"However, Pep Guardiola has previously insisted the club will not buy a new centre-half in the January transfer window, despite having to play midfielder Fernandinho in place of the injured Aymeric Laporte."

International focus

themirror.co.uk Southgate says Foden could gatecrash Euro 2020 squad

"Phil Foden could gatecrash England’s Euro 2020 squad.

"Gareth Southgate has admitted the Manchester City teenager is on his radar ahead of a potential senior call-up.

"Southgate said: “You know, we’re still looking at Foden and thinking that it’s a case of when, rather than if, unless something goes wildly off-track for him.

“So, there are some very good players, talented players that weren’t in this squad. Obviously, guys that have been with us before like Dele as well. We have got incredible competition for places, particularly in those attacking five positions.

“And form and performances with club - we can’t select on just the international games because there aren’t enough of them and the level of the opposition has been at a certain level."