Steph Houghton has challenged her City teammates to ‘keep Manchester Blue’ with victory in the Manchester Derby this weekend.

The City and England captain, who will sadly miss the clash due to an ankle injury, will be cheering on from the sidelines as Gareth Taylor’s side travel to Leigh Sports Village to face United in the first meeting of the season.

Victorious in our last meeting back in February – a celebrated 3-0 triumph in the Academy Stadium’s first Derby fixture – City hold the bragging rights.

Although Houghton will not be involved on Saturday, as always, she will be providing a positive influence and inspirational voice to rally the troops.


“The Manchester Derby means absolutely everything,” she said.

“Since United came into the league and in football in general, it’s the most special fixture to look out for in the calendar.

“There’s always added spice when you play your local rivals and they haven’t beaten us so far in the league, which is something we’re proud of and want to continue.

“For us as a team, we’re capable of winning any football game and our mentality is to win as many games as we possibly can.

“It’s certainly one for us to look forward to and we’ll hopefully, keep Manchester Blue!”

Following a disappointing run of results, the skipper has also called upon the players to issue a statement and show their true colours, with the game set to be broadcast live on BBC One.

“These big games matter to the team,” she added.

“It’s on television, which is where this game is at now – women’s football has gone from strength to strength over the last few years.

“Like we did against Everton [on the opening day of the season], we need to put in a big performance and get back on the scoresheet [in the league].”

Fellow Lioness Alex Greenwood, who skippered City for the first time and scored her first goal for the Club in our Women’s FA Cup triumph over Leicester City, captained United in the 2018/19 season, helping the Reds to promotion to the top-flight before joining Lyon, where she lifted the Champions League trophy.

Returning to her old stomping ground, the defender has urged her side to handle the emotion of the occasion, especially with the welcome return of fans.

“Having fans at a Derby brings an incredible atmosphere – home or away,” she said.

“To have fans supporting you gives you extra motivation – they’re your twelfth player on the pitch.

“I wouldn’t say our preparation will change much. Personally, regardless of the opposition, I always prepare exactly the same.

“We know the magnitude of the game – a Derby means a little bit more and it’s special when you win.”