Women's Team

Houghton: Derby chance to make a statement

Steph Houghton has called on her troops to ‘show what City are made of’ in Saturday’s Manchester Derby.

The FA Cup Winners travel to neighbours United for the first time in the FA Women’s Super League with the Reds sitting top of the table.

Casey Stoney’s outfit are unbeaten in the league so far in 2020/21 with five wins from their six games, while City have endured a mixed start.

The pair met for the first time in professional competition last season with the Blue half of Manchester boasting the bragging rights, following two wins from the three encounters.

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However, needing to close the gap atop the table, Houghton asserts there is more than local pride at stake, urging her teammates to issue a statement of our title credentials with a win.

“Everybody is looking forward to it,” she said. “Manchester City against Manchester United is a special one – it speaks for itself!

“It’s one of the first fixtures you look for when they come out. It’s unusual that we’ll be playing them twice in a week (also in the Continental Cup on Thursday) but these are the games you want!

“It’s massive for the fans but also for us as players. You always want to be part of the big games and we’re fortunate to be having those games week in, week out.

“When I was growing up, Sunderland against Newcastle was the Derby for me and there was rivalry between family and friends.

“It’s great that we have that in women’s football now too. Having that first Derby at the Etihad Stadium last year to bring in the season was an unbelievable occasion for everyone involved.

“It’s unfortunate the fans won’t be there to enjoy it with us. It’s going to be a tough match but hopefully, we’ll show everybody the team we are.

“It’s important we had a good week last week and we certainly did that. We’ll try and take that into the game on Saturday.”

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Houghton added she has been impressed with United’s start – though unsurprised given their personnel – but insists her side do not fear the league leaders, asserting the focus will be on our own game.

“In their first season, Man United were successful and they’ve recruited really well this year,” she continued.

“They’ve brought in Tobin Heath and Christen Press to the good squad they already had.

“They've added that quality and experience they were probably lacking a little in stages last season.

“I know Casey very well as a person and I’ve heard so many good things about the way she coaches and manages.

“They’ve developed a lot. They’ve gone on a similar path to us in our first few years.

“We just have to play the way we want to play and focus on one game at a time.

“We know that we’re in a very strong position in the Continental Cup and that if we get a point there in that game, we’ll qualify for the next round but we need to get better in the league and that’s something we’re aiming for.

“For us, we’re looking at every member of the squad to get involved and show the players they are.

“Hopefully, we’ll get a win at the end of the day.”

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