Following their semi-final exit from the FA Cup, Manchester City will welcome Durham to the City Football Academy.
The FA Women’s League Cup group stage clash marks the two teams’ first-ever meeting. The hosts look to build a winning streak in the competition following their thrashing of Everton. Durham picked up a point from their game with Manchester United. The championship leaders will be looking to get another positive result in Manchester.
Manchester City will once again be without a large number of their squad. In his pre-match press conference, Gareth Taylor explained that his team will be without their summer signing Bunny Shaw. The Jamaican international had been unable to complete Wednesday’s training session after missing training with the team on Tuesday. There was, however, some good news for City fans, with Ellie Roebuck potentially returning within the next few weeks. The shot-stopper has been sidelined for the entirety of the season with a calf injury. Her long-awaited return will be even more welcome after Khiara Kheating suffered an elbow fracture whilst away on international duty.
Durham will once again be without forward Nicki Gears, who is currently sidelined following an ACL injury. The visitors have been without Becky Salicki and Elizabeta Ejupi for several games now. It is still unclear whether they will make the journey to Manchester.Embed from Getty Images
Taylor’s side currently sit ninth in the WSL. With only one win in their opening five league games, the Blues are struggling to replicate last season’s form. The Citizens finished close runners-up to Emma Hayes’ Chelsea. During his pre-match press conference, Taylor emphasized the importance of the league cup. When considering his teams current ability to get their hands on silverware, the cup is vital.
Durham, on the other hand, are currently flying in the Championship. They sit in the top spot with 18 points from their opening seven games. Last season’s runners-up may well fancy their chances against a struggling Manchester City. A victory against the Blues would see their opponents move into the top half of Group B with two group-stage games left to play.
Ones to watch
Despite a disappointing result against Chelsea, Jess Park shone from the moment she took to the pitch. The 20-year-old forward has been a consistent attacking threat for Manchester City for several seasons despite not being a regular starter in the team. Their current injury crisis is allowing the No.16 to prove herself in a team devoid of their usual huge names. Park’s link-up play with fellow youngster Lauren Hemp has become a key part of her game. Their combined pace and ability in front of goal has helped the Blues in the absence of last season’s star signing, Chloe Kelly.
With the goal to bring their meeting with United level, Beth Hepple could prove an issue for Manchester City. The 25-year-old has been the club’s top goalscorer for the past three seasons. She has five goals so far this season, and the midfielder shows no sign of slowing down.