City Women will kick-off their FA Women’s Super League campaign with the toughest of tests – an away trip to Liverpool on 17 April.
The Blues’ opening fixture of 2014 sees the WSL’s newest club pitted against the defending champions with the promise of a tasty encounter.
Former Reds defender Nicola Harding is relishing the tie, but admits that returning to Merseyside will be a little tough.
“It’s a really exciting challenge,” she declared. “When the fixtures were announced, I wasn’t surprised that they’ve matched a new team in the WSL with the champions in the first game.
“It will be a bit strange going back but once I’ve got into the changing room with the rest of the team, everything will be forgotten and when we’re on that pitch, I’ll just go out and enjoy the football.”
New signing Jess Holbrook is also excited to face her old club. The midfielder, who signed from Liverpool earlier this year, is eager to start the new season and believes City have what it takes to come away from Liverpool with three points.
“There’s no better place to go and test ourselves,” she asserted. “I think we can go there and get a result. We have a great squad and we’re building each day to get stronger.
“We’ll go there, do our best and hopefully set the standard for the rest of the season. We’ll have a gameplan and we’ll concentrate on how we want to play. We’ll respect them but we’ll give it a good shot and hopefully, we can put in a good performance to build on for the rest of the season.”
Over the course of the league campaign, the Blues will face Liverpool, Bristol Academy, Everton, Chelsea, Notts County, Birmingham and Arsenal – both home and away – which means Harding and Holbrook aren’t the only members of the squad who will be revisiting their former employers this season.
Andie Worrall, Lynda Shepherd and Danielle Lea have also spent time playing for the reigning champions, whilst Jill Scott and Toni Duggan will confront Everton for the first time since leaving the Toffees, in the Continental Cup on 4 May.
Former Arsenal captain Steph Houghton will have to face the Gunners on 18 May, before she and Scott host hometown club Sunderland in the cup on 6 July.
City’s first home game is against Bristol Academy on 20 April and the final game of the season will see the Blues host Chelsea on 12 October.
Click here for a full list of fixtures.
Ticket details will be released on mcfc.co.uk in due course.