Women's Team

Taylor provides fitness update on Raso and Kennedy ahead of Brighton trip

Gareth Taylor says Hayley Raso and Alanna Kennedy are edging closer to a return to the pitch, but City’s trip to Brighton on Saturday may come too soon for the pair.

Raso hasn’t featured since our crucial 2-1 Barclays Women’s Super League victory over Arsenal in early February – whereas her Matildas colleague has been absent since our League Cup semi final defeat to the Gunners on 8 February.

Although they may not be available for the meeting with the Seagulls, the boss has been happy with their rehabilitation progress.

“We’re probably as we were,” Taylor explained.

“Hayley and Alanna are slightly closer. Hayley was back on the pitch today.

“I don’t think once she’s given the all clear with her fracture that she’ll be able to drop straight back in to full contact. Good to see them out on the pitch today.

“Alanna joined out on the pitch with us and in the practice and pretty much did most of the session so, again, is another player who is really close.

“The players are looking fit and healthy at the moment and really sharp.”

We travel to the south coast buoyed by wins in our previous three matches in all competitions, and with the returns of Esme Morgan and Kerstin Casparij following spells on the sideline.

The pair were on the bench for our 3-1 league victory over Spurs last time out - with the former coming onto the field for the final six minutes of the win. 

And Taylor admitted he'll have 'tough' decisions to make when it comes to team selection for the rest of the season.

He added: “It’s tough. I think at the end of the day, the players understand the roles they have whether they are starting or not.

“I think that’s really important. They understand it’s from me, I am the good guy or the bad guy at times and I understand the pressure that comes with that but I am comfortable for that.

“I’ve always said my intentions for the team is, for one particular game I am looking at Kerstin or Esme or Steph [Houghton] or Laia [Aleixandri].

“The players back there are playing at a high level and that makes it more and more difficult. You want to keep the rhythm with the players who are in there.

“You understand that different players can bring different things.  I think the different types of players we have back there is really good for us to have available.

“With Alanna coming back into it now as well, I think it’s great at this stage of the season that we’ve got all the players back in a good state.”