Women's Team

Taylor: Kelly getting closer

Gareth Taylor says Chloe Kelly is ‘champing at the bit’ to return to action, following her ACL injury.

The winger – last season’s Etihad Player of the Year – has not featured in the 2021/22 campaign, having suffered the setback last May.

The 24-year-old has returned to the training pitches and is pushing to feature, although Taylor admits the nature of the injury means her comeback must be managed carefully.

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“There is a plan in place for Chloe,” he said. “For us, it is just the volume of sessions she is exposed to which is really key.

“With that injury, there is a hell of a lot of rehab. Now she is back training, we need to build up the volume before we let her loose on the pitch.

“She is pretty close. She is champing at the bit and it’s about making sure we don’t push her too much, too soon.”

This week also saw the return of Ruby Mace to the bench in Wednesday’s win over Reading, while Taylor admitted Vicky Losada is not quite ready, when asked of the latest team news in his press conference.

With three games in seven days to contend with, including Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final and two must-win FA Women’s Super League games, the Head Coach is mindful of managing minutes across the board but says he has no fresh concerns.

“I think we are in pretty good shape,” he added. “We have got players continuing to step up their return to playing time.

“Ruby and Chloe have been able to get a couple more training sessions under the belt. Vicky Losada will be longer but we’re in a pretty good shape.

“For us, we have had this extra day between the games. That’s been good and given the medical team a little bit more of an extended time to check in with players.”

City welcome Everton on Sunday, as the two sides lock horns for a place in the FA Cup semi-finals.

Facing the Toffees for the third time this season – and with their league visit on Wednesday – they have proven familiar foe this season but Taylor expects a very different prospect in this weekend’s knock-out clash.

“We’re looking forward to it,” he stated. “We’re really pleased we are at home again after being on the road for a little while.

“It’s nice to get back on home ground. It will be a different dynamic playing them in the FA Cup and then back into the league. It’s a good opportunity for us but we’re expecting a tough game. 

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“We have done it with United when we have played them back-to-back. I don’t think we’ve ever had both fixtures at home.

“I think it’s interesting what could happen between Sunday and the second game. Sometimes, teams tend to try something different. It’s a good stage for us to be at a cup quarter-final and a good stage for Everton too. 

“It’s a one-off. It's kind of like a ‘winner takes all.’ I think we’re probably expecting Everton to have a right good go at it.

“For ourselves, it is important we control the opponent’s threat so we are fully aware of that, and imposing ourselves in the game really early on.

“We have done that well recently but this is a one-off game and the winner goes through to the semi-finals so it’s an exciting tie.

“We have been capitalising in the second half or lot for the last four or five games. It’s not that we are doing that on purpose. We are trying out best to finish off the actions.

“I felt it was a really dominant performance against Reading. You don't always get what you deserve, but I think we did.”

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