Gareth Taylor could be without Sam Mewis and Demi Stokes for Friday’s FA Women’s Super League Manchester Derby.

The pair have not featured for City since December through injury and although there had been hope Mewis could return this weekend, Taylor admits the clash ‘could come too soon’ for both players.

In brighter news, the boss says he has no new injury concerns with the squad having returned from Sunday’s hard-fought 2-1 win at Arsenal unscathed and pushing hard for starting spots for Friday’s huge, top-of-the-table encounter.

“We are uncertain with Sam and Demi whether they will make the squad,” Taylor explained. “It might have come too soon for them.


“We had a bit of extra help at Arsenal in terms of our bench looking strong with Esme Morgan, Janine Beckie and Jess Park returning.

“We are happy with where we are at. We have not picked up anything since Arsenal.

“We also need to look at the bigger picture – we have a heavy schedule after the international break and that is when it will be vital to have people fit to be competitive.

“When we are in a one-game week, with recovery time, the players doing well will have a good chance of playing.

“They have done well. Everybody has done well and bought into the team ethic to make sure they are contributing.

“When players are standing up to be counted and really delivering with performances, it always brings a selection headache and that is what you want.

“We have got some really good players who are not starting but they are contributing a lot on the training pitch. We are a real team here. There are many different ways players have to contribute.”

City host United for just the second time in the FA WSL, after the historic 2019/20 season curtain raiser at the Etihad Stadium.

With Taylor’s side looking to leapfrog the Reds into second spot in the league table this time around, this fixture boasts more than just local bragging rights in its significance.


Previewing the potentially season-defining encounter, the boss admits the stakes could not be higher but asserted his in-form and upbeat side are fully determined to ‘make Manchester Blue.’

“The feeling is good,” he said. “We’ve had a good start to the year and we had a good end to the year as well. We have good confidence.

“The players are looking sharp. We have got this Derby game before we break off for the international break. We are looking to finish off on a good note. Everyone looks good and is looking forward to game

“The rivalry is always there, isn’t it? Whether it is United v City in a game of football or other platforms. Everybody wants to be successful.

“We want the city to be blue after this occasion. Bragging rights go hand-in-hand with that. 

“We are in the same division now. We get to play each other, which is great. They are good games to be involved in.

“It is difficult to say how important title focus will be. We understand it is an important game.

“We spoke before Arsenal and United that these would be two pivotal games. That’s not changed.

“After the game, you would look at it and I think both teams would be in the title race, regardless of the result.

“We are on a good run at the moment. We are playing some good stuff and are keen to get the three points.

“We are enjoying being involved in the title race. We are a good team, playing good football, scoring a lot of goals.

“It feels like the final push, even though it is just over halfway. You can see the finish line and everyone is making a charge for it.”