Women's Team

City v Leicester: Taylor on team news

Gareth Taylor has confirmed City will be without Alanna Kennedy and Ruby Mace for Wednesday night’s Women’s FA Cup visit of Leicester City.

New FA guidelines for the 2020/21 tournament revealed players who last season played for teams still involved will not be eligible to play, as the competition resumes at the quarter-final stage.

With City already in the midst of an injury crisis, especially in defence, the news provides a selection headache for Taylor, who also confirmed left-back Demi Stokes will face a late fitness test, along with winger Lauren Hemp, while Hayley Raso will miss out.


The Head Coach admitted he will have to name a makeshift backline and fewer substitutes for the visit of the Foxes, although there was some positive news that Keira Walsh could make her first appearance of the season, following a calf injury.

“It gives us another issue with Alanna and Ruby not eligible,” Taylor conceded. “It’s not ideal.

“We didn't get that information until recently, which causes us frustration. Leicester have a similar problem but getting the information to us would have helped.

“It will affect us because of the injury crisis. We would have changed our recruitment strategy if we had known this information, and it has come super late.

“The changes, you want to know sooner rather than later, when you carry a competition over. It’s difficult to enforce those restrictions on players.

“We lose an opportunity to see Ruby Mace showcase her talents and that's the most frustrating thing. 

“Our Academy players are not even training close to our programme so it’s hard to thrust someone in.

“Having said that, we never expected this amount of injuries. It’s unprecedented what we are going through.

“Maybe we might see Keira but we are waiting on that. We need longer and that would only be for a period of the game.

“Outside of that, Hayley won’t make it back in time and we need to check Demi and Lauren Hemp – they have issues after the last game. We will buy ourselves a bit more time.

“Players have been drilled on what we are looking like. It’s a challenge and we seem to be facing a lot of those.

“In our first five games, we have faced more than in a whole season. Maybe not the COVID-19 season but that was consistent across all teams.

“We are suffering at the minute but we have character, determination and fight. We will keep facing challenges.

“We’ll go with what we have and make the best of it. We have a plan in place. We will wait and give ourselves the maximum time and we will go for it.”

City head into the clash in disappointing form, having lost our last three on the bounce in all competitions, and on the back of Sunday night’s heavy defeat to Arsenal.

Taylor asserted the squad are doing all they can to remain positive, despite the difficult circumstances, and are relishing the prospect of returning to FA Cup action, desperate to retain the trophy.

“The fight and determination is there,” he said. “It’s been a positive response.

“Having a game on Sunday and then straight after is great – the last thing you want is no game for two weeks after a defeat.

“We have games coming thick and fast and it’s something we are looking forward to.

“We trained and recovered yesterday and today with the squad we have. Everyone was in good spirits and we are looking forward to a different competition – one we've been successful in previously.

“We played Leicester at this stage last season in the quarter-finals and it was tough – high energy,.

“They played something similar to what we expected but we have to be ready because they have variety.

“I’ve been surprised they haven’t picked up the odd point. That will come. They have a good coach (Jonathan Morgan) and have Emile [Heskey] working in the background, helping out.

“They come here as underdogs, despite our circumstances, and we need to handle that and use our home advantage, play our way and play our game.

“They had success last season and I am sure they will find their rhythm in the season ahead.

“We want to be successful in this competition. We are up against it with the personnel we have but we’ll fight to the end and make sure we give our very best and try to get through to the semi-final.”

Tickets for Wednesday night's Women's FA Cup quarter-final clash are on sale with Under-16s priced at just £1!