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City v Linkoping: Injury news

PRESS CONFERENCE: Nick Cushing and Keira Walsh address the media ahead of the game...

PRESS CONFERENCE: Nick Cushing and Keira Walsh address the media ahead of the game...

Nick Cushing revealed Dutch international Tessel Middag is back in contention for City’s Champions League quarter-final clash with Linkoping.

The midfielder had been side-lined for ten months with a cruciate ligament injury but returned to match action with a first half cameo for the Development Squad a week ago.

Discussing his squad options for Wednesday night’s European first leg encounter at the Academy Stadium, Cushing explained he has no new injury concerns and provided an update on the fitness of Steph Houghton and Julia Spetsmark.

“We’ve had a lot of games,” he stated. “We have everyone available that we had for the last game (Sunday’s postponed FA Cup trip to Sunderland).

Tessel Middag is in the squad. She’s fully returned and she’s fighting for a place, training well. When the opportunity presents itself, she’ll get it – the same as everybody else. She’s fully available to start the game if needed. If she takes it, she’ll stay in the team. She’s a member of the squad now.

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Julia Spetsmark is not available – she has a problem with her knee. She is out for this game and won’t make the weekend. She’s not far off. We try to offload players a little bit – giving them days here and there where we can. It’s tight between games.

“We’re playing it as we go with Steph. Everybody knows she had a problem in the game against Chelsea. She missed a few weeks, including the SheBelieves Cup and we’re all aware there was a tight turnaround from the SheBelieves to the Continental Tyres Cup final. As and when we can get her to a place where she can play, she will play.”

Having received two yellow cards in the tournament, Izzy Christiansen – the Blues’ top scorer for the 2017/18 campaign – is suspended.

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IWD Five-a-side team: Tessel Middag

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Although Cushing admitted she will be a miss, he asserted he has plans to cover.

“When we lose somebody who had played the bulk of games, it’s going to be a miss,” he added.

“We have consistency with the team selection but we’ve had good performances from players like Georgia Stanway, Claire Emslie and Mel Lawley. We have strength in depth.

“Missing a player is disappointing but it’s no different whether we miss a player through injury or suspension.”

Tickets for City's home leg quarter-final tie with Linkoping (Wednesday 21 March, 7pm) are on sale and are available to buy online via tickets.mancity.com or at the Etihad Stadium Ticket Office.

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