Women's Team

Women's FA Cup Final: Taylor on team news

City have received a welcome boost ahead of the Women’s FA Cup Final with the news Demi Stokes and Jess Park are set to be back in contention.

Stokes missed last weekend’s FA Women’s Super League finale at Reading, while Club Rising Star Park – who produced a pivotal assist in extra-time of our last FA Cup Final win against Everton in 2020 – has not featured since the start of April.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's clash against League Champions Chelsea, Head Coach Gareth Taylor shared a squad update, confirming the pair should be set to return.

“We look slightly better than we did before Reading,” he said.

“Demi had a family issue so was unable to be at the game. Outside of that, we managed to get some gametime for Vicky Losada. Jess Park also trained this week and is in contention.

“The squad is looking healthy. We have the injures are the same as before: Karen [Bardsley], Esme [Morgan] and Steph [Houghton].”


City head in the game in imperious form, having won 21 of our last 23 games in all competitions, including our last 13 games in a row.

Among those 13 victories was a memorable Continental Cup Final victory over Chelsea at Wimbledon’s Plough Lane but Taylor believes Sunday’s contest will prove an entirely different affair with the winner determined by the team that remains focused and unaffected by the magnitude of the occasion.

“It does [inspire confidence] and we go into it in form but Chelsea do too and finished the season off well,” he added.

“Sometimes it can have a relevance to the game in terms of the rhythm and tempo, but it’s a one-off game and it’s about who manages it well enough on the day and who plays the game – not the occasion.

“We’ve been there before in cup finals so have Chelsea… so there’s no real edge for either team. It’s just who goes out and performs best on the day.

“[The Conti Cup Final] was a couple of months ago and a game where the girls were amazing. It put us into a confident place which we followed up with wins through to the end of the season. Full credit to the players.

“We want to win another trophy. It’s one we’ve been successful in previously. Whatever happens on Sunday, we’re proud of the season and we’re moving in the right direction.

“It’s always a tactical affair when we play Chelsea. They always potentially want to surprise you. We’ve had that previously – it’s always making sure we’re ready for any eventuality, whether it’s build-up or how we press… but we try not to go too much into the opposition, we focus on ourselves.

“[The rivalry] is massive. We want to do it no doubt, but there’s a healthy respect between the clubs, players, myself and Emma [Hayes]. Why wouldn't we commend what they’ve done? Emma’s been supported, won trophies, got to finals and done amazingly.

“It doesn’t change things. Of course. we want to be that team beating them and have another opportunity on Sunday.

“The FA Cup is still a special competition for players, coaches and supporters. It's never lost its magic. It’s a great competition and one I remember playing in: being the underdog, being favourite and what that brings. It’s a really special competition.

“We’ve had a nice week build-up to it. Players are in good form, a good mood and really looking forward to Sunday.”

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