Gareth Taylor’s side travel to Leigh Sports Village in a lunchtime kick-off (13:30 UK time) to face United for the first time in the 2021/22 season, eager to retain the bragging rights and claim a crucial three points.
Having starred in this fixture with two sensational goals in each of our home league meetings – the first an historic first professional women’s Derby strike – the spotlight in the build-up to Derby Day always shines on Weir.
However, the humble Scotland international – one of only two Scots to have made Team GB’s Olympic squad over the summer – asserts that while she is proud to have enjoyed such memorable moments in the meetings of the Manchester clubs, finishing the game on the winning side has pleased her more.
Though Weir says she relishes the feistiness of the clashes, she admits the encounters can prove tough to play in, urging her teammates to manage the emotion of the occasion and keep their eyes on the prize.
“Derbies are always difficult games,” she said. “I love the competitiveness and what it means to the Club but they’re not necessarily fun to play in – they’re not always football or tactics-based; they can turn into a bit of a scrap!
“The ones I’ve played in haven’t been the prettiest games, although there have been some huge highlights for me personally!
“I just see each game as doing what I can do for the team – whether that’s scoring or assisting. It just so happens that two of my most memorable goals have come against United!
“I’d love another goal – I’ll take a tap-in! – but it’s all about getting the win for the team. That’s all we think about.
“The most important thing is the three points: coming out on top whatever it takes.
“The emotion is such a big part of it. We know what it means to Manchester City – the history and significance of a Derby.
“It’s going to be great to have fans back – that definitely adds an extra edge. We go to United first and we know what that will be like – it’s a difficult place to go. They always give us a good game; a good challenge.
“As players, we love the preparation and build-up to Derby Day and we’ll be ready to go when it comes around.
“We’re definitely up for it!”
With City six points shy of United in the table, the three on offer at Leigh Sports Village are all the more precious with Taylor’s side desperate to return to winning ways to reignite our campaign.
Since the 2-0 reverse at home to West Ham, Weir and co. will have had six days to review, reflect and respond before Derby Day – and the Scot insists the team are feeling positive.
“It’s been a challenging couple of weeks,” she admitted. “We’ve had some difficult results and it’s been a tough situation in terms of players missing.
“It hasn’t been fun but we have to get on with it and spirits are high.
“As a team, we’re really together – this is one of the most tight-knit teams I’ve been part of since I’ve been here, which is credit to everyone for all making the effort to stick together.
“You have to look around and be there for your teammates, looking out for each other.
“We still have so much to play for. Bad results can be taken out of perspective from the outside world but for us, it’s all about what happens at the CFA day in, day out and being together as a team.
“Our goals haven’t changed. Of course, we were disappointed to have been knocked out of the Champions League and with our start to the WSL but that’s the way it’s happened.
“Now, the focus has turned to domestic games and we have to move forward.
“We feel confident that we can go far and that’s what we’re working towards.”