Women's Team

Spurs v City: Taylor on team news

Gareth Taylor has no fresh injury concerns ahead of Sunday's FA Women's Super League trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

Almost a week on from our Continental Cup success over Chelsea, the Head Coach said the team had come through the week unscathed, although Vicky Losada is likely to miss out, while Chloe Kelly is edging nearer to a return.

“There’s nothing new from what we had previously,” he added. “We had a few niggles which have come through quite well in the last few days.

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“Vicky is improving but it’s probably too close for her. Then we go into a heavy schedule so it is about dropping these players in at the right time. There are no real changes from the last game.”

On Kelly, he explained: “She is champing at the bit to get back. She is trying to push it further in terms of being back sooner.

Taylor also admitted Steph Houghton is facing a race to be fit in time for the Women’s Euros.

The City and England captain has not featured since January, having undergone surgery on her Achilles.

With the Lionesses having announced two June fixtures in preparation for this summer’s home tournament, Taylor admits the centre-back is unlikely to feature before then.

“I think that’s going to be really difficult for Steph to make,” he conceded, when asked the possibility of her featuring in June. “Her goal is to try and get to the Euros.

“There is nothing further to add on Steph from when we have spoken previously. She is continuing with her rehabilitation after surgery.

“We understand as a Club and Steph understands that it’s going to be really tight.

“We will support her as best we can. It will be another three weeks until we can assess and see where she is at.”

“We have to take into account the injury. I suffered with that injury as a young player and it’s one you have to manage for the rest of your career.

“Chloe has been amazing. She has been a huge miss for us. It would be a big blow for any team, especially for us, but it has to be the right moment to get her back.

“There will be other setbacks with other niggles because she has been out for that length of time, so we just need to make sure we get her back at the right moment.

“We have seen across the WSL that there is a real high chance of re-injury with that injury.

“We’re going into an important run of fixtures now and the girls have looked great in training. On the pitch today, everyone was showing their confidence.”

Continental Cup winners City face Spurs this weekend, as fourth and fifth place lock horns.

With both sides eyeing a top-three finish and Champions League qualification, there is plenty at stake and Taylor says his side are fully aware of the significance of the game.

“We’re aware of the fixtures,” he said. “We know exactly what we have got in these remaining eight games.

“We keep the focus on ourselves from game to game and don’t like to give ourselves the out of dropping points here and there.

“The important thing is to not lose on Sunday, to stay within touching distance of the teams around us. Keeping it simple, keeping the focus on game by games whilst understanding what’s round the corner is key for us.

“These are important games. We understand and realise that. We have to focus one each game in isolation without thinking too far ahead.

“The girls’ concentration levels have been really good. We understand we are going to need everyone in this period. There is real good competition in the group now.

“We have some real good quality players, ready to come in. I think it's good. We learned a lot about ourselves at the weekend [in the Conti Cup Final win over Chelsea] and it is really good for us to use and take forward.

“One thing to throw caution to is being overconfident. We need to rein that in and focus on our objectives in the right way and not expect it to happen for us.

“As well as we have played recently we are always looking to improve. We didn't start great against United and Chelsea so we are looking to iron that out.”

Though City defeated Tottenham 3-0 en route to Conti Cup success, the Londoners edged a controversial contest in the previous league fixture, scoring late on to snatch a 2-1 win.

Sitting level on points with third-placed Manchester United, Spurs have enjoyed a memorable campaign and Taylor has been impressed with their form.

“In terms of their season so far, they have made a big step forward,” he reflected. “They are in a good position.

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“They have tough fixtures between now and the end of the season on paper, but the game is not played on paper. They have rightly earned their position.

“We suffered earlier in the season down to not taking our chances and some refereeing decisions. We didn’t take that into consideration in the cup semi-final. We try to keep it about us.

“We show a lot of respect to whoever we play, but ultimately it is about us. The opposition can give you some issues – there is no doubt about that – but I have always said the only team that can beat us is us and that is with respect to teams around the world. I always look at what we do and if we haven't been successful, where that is.

“They make it difficult. They are a team that really comes out and engages in their press or they will really sit off and make it difficult to get through. We have to be ready for both phases of play.

“We understand it is down to us to find the spaces, to move the opposition so we can progress in certain areas. They have been frugal in terms of not giving things away. We understand the challenge and one we look forward to it.”

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