Preview: United Women v Sheffield Utd
Manchester United Women will welcome Sheffield United to Leigh Sports Village on Sunday for our final game of the year.
Despite a win against Everton last time out, United bow out of the competition, as fellow WSL club Aston Villa qualify for the knockout rounds as top of the group.
The Reds will be determined to see out 2022 on a high, though, and ahead of that 12:00 GMT kick-off, here is our round-up of all the other key information you need to know…
We welcome fans to Leigh Sports Village on Sunday for our final women's game of the year, and tickets are still available to buy here.
There will be live updates throughout the game in the United App and via our designated women’s Twitter account, @ManUtdWomen. For fans in the UK and Ireland, MUTV will air the Conti Cup clash live – coverage starts from 11:45 GMT.
It has been a difficult season thus far for Sunday’s visitors, who have struggled to hit the ground running. After picking up just two wins, and five losses, in their opening nine games, former head coach Neil Redfearn tended his resignation, following a stint of two years with the club. With technical director, Luke Turner, taking charge until they hire a new manager, fortunes haven’t quite favoured them as of yet, as they await a first win of his tenure.
In his most recent press conference, Marc Skinner revealed that he is expecting all of his players to be available for our final game of the calendar year, with Adriana Leon looking to return following a short illness. Aoife Mannion is unlikely to get on the pitch, as it was previously reiterated that the club is aiming for a return in 2023, but could be on included on the bench to get her back in the matchday mix after she took part in Wednesday's team training.
For our visitors, they will be without forward Sophie Haywood, who recently underwent knee surgery at the start of the month, but is expected to return in the new year. We could also be welcoming back a familiar face to LSV in the form of ex-Reds defender Naomi Hartley, who spent our first-ever season with us.
Sheffield United are one of two teams in our group yet to register a win in the Conti Cup this season, picking up one point in three games after a 3-3 draw to Durham that saw them ultimately lose on penalties. The Blades were then beaten 3-0 by Women’s Super League side Everton, before a narrow 2-1 loss to Aston Villa last time out. They travel to LSV on Sunday on the back of five straight league defeats that see them sitting 10th in the Championship table. This will be Sheffield United’s last outing before the new year, and they will no doubt be stern opposition as they’ll hope to see out 2022 with a big win.
While this is the first time we’ve been in a Conti Cup group with Sheffield United, they are a club that is familiar to us having been in the league with them during our inaugural season spent in the Championship in 2018. We first played the Blades in September of that year, beating them 3-0, thanks to goals from Katie Zelem from the spot, followed by Kirsty Hanson and second-half substitute Lizzie Arnot. Our second, and only other, game against the south Yorkshire side came in February of the following year, when the Reds ran rampant once again to register a 4-0 victory. Our skipper was on the scoresheet once again, along with former Reds Lauren James and Mollie Green, with Ella Toone netting a first-half penalty too. Skinner’s side will take confidence into this game knowing we’re unbeaten against the Blades, and will want to maintain that 100 percent record by seeing out the year on a high.
Only two other Group A opponents are in action this weekend, with Aston Villa finishing top, having played all of their games.
SATURDAY 17 DECEMBER
Everton v Durham (12:30)
SUNDAY 18 DECEMBER
UNITED v Sheffield Utd (12:30)
All kick-off times listed are GMT.