Gareth Taylor says Hayley Raso and Alanna Kennedy are nearing a return and could be in contention to face Aston Villa in the FA Cup on Sunday.

Raso hasn’t featured since our 2-1 WSL victory over Arsenal on February 11 while her Matildas colleague has been absent since our League Cup semi-final defeat to the Gunners three days earlier.

Taylor will assess their availability before the quarter-final clash at Villa Park, but says that defender Esme Morgan is expected to be part of the squad.

“Esme came on the game before against Spurs I think. With the balance of the game against Brighton there wasn’t an opportunity to get her on but she’s ready and trained hard, looks good.,” Taylor said in his pre-match press conference.  


“Alanna joined the last couple of days in full training, the same as Hayley. We’ll see. We have one more session tomorrow.

“Esme will be there, not too sure on Hayley maybe, it’s just a case of the fracture being able to settle and knowing she can go back into full contact but she was out there today and was joining in so we’ll have to check with the medics. It’s the same with Alanna, but they’re very close.”

Aston Villa have caused City plenty of problems this season, winning at Villa Park on the opening day of the season before taking a point at the Academy Stadium in January.

But Taylor says it’s shows the strength of the Women’s Super League and says City have no given right to take three points off sides outside the title race which is why he is expecting another tough test with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs.

“When you say teams have taken points off you, they’re not our points, the points are available for everyone in the game,” he added.

“ People look it and assume that City away at Villa Park that’s three points for City and that’s not the case.

“We all agree the levels have really improved in the WSL this season and a hour before kick-off I was looking at that Villa team and thinking they’re a different proposition with the players that they signed in the summer.

“In terms of learnings for us, we’ve delved into what they do and how we can impose ourselves on them. I don’t want to go into those ideas and those concepts are because they are for us but regardless there is going to have to be an element of doing the basics really well.”