Women's Team

Taylor: Lavelle almost ready

Taylor: Lavelle almost ready
Gareth Taylor says Rose Lavelle could be in contention to make her City debut against Arsenal.

The United States star, who joined City over the summer alongside fellow World Cup winner Sam Mewis, is yet to feature for her new Club.

Lavelle had to undergo a period of self-isolation upon arrival in the UK, whilst also recovering from a minor foot injury.

Previewing Thursday night’s FA Cup semi-final clash against Arsenal, Taylor shared a squad update following Sunday’s win over Leicester, and says he hopes to hand Lavelle some valuable minutes either against the Gunners or Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

“Rose has been training hard,” he said. “What we’re trying to do with her is make sure that when she is introduced, which is hopefully over the next couple of games, she’s ready.

“She’s slight in stature and had an issue when she first came with a slight injury to her ankle, which had been picked up at her previous club.

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“We made sure she had adequate strength in her leg before we pushed her through vigorous training. We have a decent stock of players in that position, which allowed us that bit of time for her to be ready.

“It’s hard taking players from another club or country and we’ve seen mistakes happen in the past where players don’t have an initiation period – where they’re just thrown in.

“She’s been keen to get in and join in but we’ve had to keep the reins on her. Hopefully, we’ll start to see her, which gives us another option. That’s great.

“Everyone came through the Leicester game unscathed. Sometimes, in that kind of game and on that surface, it can be difficult.

“We had to make some decisions on some players but I thought the way the girls handled the game was great.

“The whole team – the starting XI and the subs – played their part. It wasn’t an easy tie and Leicester will do well.

“This season, we’re building a squad for the next couple of seasons to help us compete on all levels. There’s been quite a bit of activity around the FA Women’s Super League this summer – we’ve brought in new players and other teams have done their recruitment earlier with settling in periods.

“We’ll see what happens and we’re excited. We have to be patient – it’s the same for any new signings: some players come in and hit the ground running; some players take longer.

“With the cohesion of the team, you always hope you’ll hit it off straight away but I’ve been pleased with the signs so far, especially on the training pitch – there’s a good spirit, experience, youth, athleticism, creativity… It’s just a case of getting it to gel together.

WATCH: FA Women's Cup highlights: Leicester 1-2 City

“The girls have been great – not just the new players but one who were already here, creating an environment everyone can fit into as normally as possible.”

With the resumption of the 2019/20 competition, Taylor has the unusual opportunity of guiding City to two FA Cup successes this year – the first a matter of weeks into the role.

However, with Arsenal’s impressive attacking armoury firing on all cylinders so far in 2020/21, the holders’ task to reach the Final could not be much tougher with Taylor admitting there is no room for error.

“We’re up against a very good Arsenal team, who have made a good start and we’ll look to capitalise on home surroundings and hope to progress to the Final,” he continued.

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“It’s something we’re really looking forward to. There are so many positives around this and it’s a good game for us.

“We always look to impose our will on our opponents. You have to factor in threats we see in our opposition, which will dictate how we want to play, but we try to stick to a formula that works.

“We’ll make it about ourselves – how we impose ourselves on our opponents. Each game will be different, although there are some similarities in some teams and shapes, but we’ll focus on what we’re going to do and execute our gameplan.

“We want to play free-flowing football and score goals, conceding as few as possible, which gives us the opportunity to win more games.

“Clean sheets are something we want to maintain. We’re working on new concepts for our defenders but for me, defending starts from the front.

“Arsenal have been fairly high-scoring in their first games and it’s a good test for us but I have real confidence in what we’re doing.

“It’s a great competition to be involved in and we want to pick up where we left off and hope to win it.”

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