Women's Team

Taylor: Losada and Park pushing for returns

Gareth Taylor says Vicky Losada is pushing for a return to action before the end of the season.

The midfielder, who joined the Club last summer from Barcelona, has endured a mixed maiden campaign in Manchester, scoring seven goals In 21 appearances but having struggled to build a consistent run of games with injury.

The Champions League winner has not featured for the Club since February’s Manchester Derby win in the Women’s FA Cup, in which she was substituted at half-time.

Asked about the latest team news ahead of Saturday morning’s FA Women’s Super League visit of Brighton and Hove Albion, the Head Coach confirmed he has no fresh concerns and shared the pleasing news that Losada and youngster Jess Park are edging closer to comebacks.

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“There are no real changes from the previous game,” Taylor replied. “There's players like Steph [Houghton], Esme [Morgan] and Karen Bardsley who are that bit further away.

“Jess is getting a little bit closer, the same with Vicky… There’s potential [for Vicky to be back before the end of the season] and maybe the same for Jess, although she may be slightly ahead – she's come back good so we may see her before the FA Cup Final.

“Vicky’s is a niggly injury, I've had it myself and the smallest twist can give discomfort. It can be difficult to come back from.

“She’s working hard. She was out working hard with Esme [Morgan]. It’ll be touch-and-go but she's given herself the best chance to get back.

“Outside of that, the players are looking pretty good in games after the international break. So far, so good…”

Also asked whether he has already picked his starting XIs for the end-of-season run-in, Taylor said: “No. We’re aware of the players who would struggle with three games in seven days but it's game-by-game.

“I’ve always said this: it’s for staff and backroom people to have an eye on games. For now, our sole attention is on tomorrow’s game. If they play, don't play, start or don't start, their capacity is there then.

“We don’t have much time before Wednesday and then we travel with an away fixture [against Reading]. We have full concentration for tomorrow.”

City face Brighton, having defeated Hope Powell's side 6-0 away from home earlier in the campaign.

Taylor insists however that result will have no bearing on this clash and has warned of a potential backlash following the Seagulls' disappointing home defeat to bottom side Birmingham last time out.

“They always come out and engage and put pressure on opponents,” he added. “The way they managed the game in January, it was 0-0 at half-time. Then it opened up.

“We have to be prepared. In terms of Hope changing her ideas, I wouldn’t see any changes.

“In terms of the Birmingham game, we have to anticipate there’ll be a different mindset with a setback like that.”

Sunday’s 4-0 win over Leicester, coupled with Manchester United’s draw with Aston Villa, means City are in pole position to secure a top three spot with three games of the league season remaining.

With the FA Cup also still to play for, the Continental Cup winners could complete the season with two trophies, as well as a Champions League spot.

Given the challenging start the squad faced, it would be an impressive end to the campaign but the Head Coach asserts he knew his side’s fortunes would improve as a result of the efforts of players and staff, who are all driven and determined to embrace their learnings and take the Club to the next level.

“I always find it difficult talking about things we could potentially do,” he said. “It would be nice to have European football and two trophies. It would look successful but we always want more, to improve

“Regardless of what happens, whether we’re successful or not in objectives, the group – the players, the staff – have pulled together to achieve what we have done in the second half of the season.

“We’ve played exciting football, which enabled us to win games. Our consistency and the lack of goals we’ve given away compared to earlier in season is remarkable. It takes perseverance, character, players returning…

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“I felt we were always in a decent position anyway. We take care of our business. I always felt there'd be some wriggle room and who's to say we won't drop points?

“Teams are competing, and Villa made it difficult against United. We had an eye on it and it was a pleasant surprise but doesn't really change our objectives and what we need to do.

“I’ve said previously: the belief is a big one for me, and sticking to our principles, my principles. To do that, we need good people around supporting me and we had that.

“We had difficult moments – there’s no doubt about that – but we knew when had a more improved pool to choose from, it has allowed us to do what we’ve done: be really consistent.

“It’s important to analyse and see what we could have done better at the start - on and off the pitch. It’s part of our make up: to try and be better.

“We’re in a good position now and regardless of what happens, there’s still a lot to be done and that’s great in terms of looking to improve.”

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