United Women v Liverpool: Team news
Manchester United Women head coach Marc Skinner has provided an update on how his squad is shaping up for Sunday’s WSL clash with Liverpool.
Winger Leah Galton has returned to training having picked up an injury recently, according to Skinner, while the boss also addressed Aoife Mannion’s status, as the defender eyes a return to the field from a long-term knee injury, over the coming weeks.
“It was a really good trip [Malta]," he said, speaking to reporters during his pre-match press conference on Wednesday afternoon. "It was built purposefully to get the players back together,"
"When you get a chance to rest those players I think it's really important that you help them.
"Aoife won't be ready to start. She's ready to come into squads and games but she's not played enough competitive minutes. She got her first 45 away when we played Birkirkara. She's not quite ready to play yet and then we had a niggle with Leah [Galton] and she's back training on the field today, so we're hopeful for the weekend.
"Apart from that, everyone is fit and ready."
Skinner believes that the fixture will continue to develop the rivalry often associated between the clubs, but says it’s still a game that he and his side are eagerly anticipating regardless.
“I hope it’s as rivalled as the men’s fixture going forwards,” the boss explained.
“We know what a good team Liverpool are, how well Matt [Beard] has them organised, how they work together. This could be a really huge fixture and what that takes is not only [it being] geographically close enough to be a tightness, but actually the more experiences you have against each other, and the more games, builds that history.
“We’re still building that history, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a game we don’t look forward to.
“We have to give absolutely everything because Liverpool are a very good team and we will not take our eyes off that. I believe going forwards in the future it will be very much the same as the men’s rivalry and our job, both Matt and myself while we’re here, is to make sure [our teams] put performances in that maintain that standard of almost derby game.”
Young midfielder Grace Clinton is still to make her competitive debut for the Reds since signing from Everton in the summer, and Skinner says there has always been plan for the 19-year-old to go out on loan this month, in order to further her development.
“Everybody knows how I feel about Grace, Grace is definitely going to be what we’re looking for in the future," he explained. "Her vision, her brain, the way I want people to play. She has it all.
“In this window, she’s a potential player to go out on loan because we’re looking at her playing consistent minutes that we can’t give her at the moment.
“What we asked her to do, which we’ve done, is for the first six months, learn our principles, learn our expectations so that she takes that out for the second part of the season if she hadn’t played as much.
“Our plan was always there with Grace. It’s likely she’ll go out in this window on loan, but only on loan to go out and get that playing time to put into practice what she can do.”
Skinner also confirmed that he is hopeful of adding another midfielder to his squad in this window, following the departure of Lucy Staniforth to Aston Villa earlier this week.
“I don’t talk about individual players, so for us, the player that has gone out is Lucy Stan so we’re looking at a position in midfield.”