Women's Team

Taylor provides Houghton latest ahead of Women’s FA Cup clash

Taylor provides Houghton latest ahead of Women’s FA Cup clash
Gareth Taylor is hopeful that Steph Houghton will feature again this season as she continues her recovery from an achilles injury.

Our captain has been sidelined since making her 200th City appearance against Everton at the start of March, and the boss has called for patience as she works her way back to full fitness.

Taylor also shed some light on several other first team players as they returned from international duty ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round clash with Aston Villa.

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“There are a couple of bits to check on, but pretty much everyone was out on the pitch today," he revealed.

"A couple of players stayed inside, Rose (Lavelle) had a slight ankle problem which stopped her from training. We’ll check tomorrow.

“Demi and Lucy are continuing their build up to maximum minutes, everyone else is fine apart from Steph (Houghton) and Gemma (Bonner).”

“Gemma trained today. It is looking good for her, she just needs training volume under her belt.

“Steph will be a little bit longer unfortunately, she has worked tremendously hard to get back, but it is just a case of being patient.

“We all want her back on the pitch. She is making a big impact behind the scenes and hopefully we can get her back before the end of the season.”

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WATCH: Taylor: We want to defend our cup

The City boss had some better news to share regarding Lauren Hemp, who had sustained a nasty looking head cut in England's friendly defeat to Canada on Tuesday.

Taylor dismissed suggestions that she might be ruled out of Saturday’s FA Cup encounter, insisting the 20-year-old is as keen as ever to make her mark.

He said: “She trained today with a big bandage on, much to the amusement of a lot of the players.

“Lauren has incredible enthusiasm, she gets on with things and very rarely allows negatives to get in the way.

“She trained today and looked good, I don’t expect that to change at all.”

WATCH: Highlights: City 7-0 Aston Villa

Our fourth round clash with the Villans represents the first hurdle of our FA Cup defence, with November’s 3-1 triumph over Everton in last season’s showpiece still fresh in the memory.

Attentions then turn swiftly towards Wednesday's showdown with Chelsea at the Academy Stadium, which could have huge permutations on the Women’s Super League title race.

Nonetheless, Taylor maintained that he and the players' sole focus right now is on progressing to the next round against Aston Villa.

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“We focus on the Villa cup game, you can’t look too far ahead.

“People are naturally going to have an eye on the remaining WSL games, but for us the most important game is the Villa game.

“We want to defend our trophy, it's the first trophy I won. It was an amazing moment and we want to win it again.

"We are playing to win. You can't underestimate these teams. For Villa, it is a free hit. They are playing away and will have a game plan to try and beat us.

“In terms of the team, we will be as strong as we possibly can be. As strong as we need to be. 

“When we have made changes and we have had to with the sheer volume of games, the level and quality hasn’t dropped. That’s the biggest compliment I can pay our players.”

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