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Blades take on Man City Women in Continental Cup

4 December 2018

Sheffield United's women's team face their toughest test of the season so far when they travel to 2016 FA WSL champions Manchester City for a Continental Cup match on Wednesday night.

Nick Cushing's side have won the cup twice since relaunching their women's team in 2014 and a win on Wednesday would send City through to the next round of the competition.

United themselves are coming off the back of a frustrating 1-1 at Millwall on Sunday, though positives came in the form of Beth Ibbotson's composed debut in defence and another start for 16-year-old Izzy Ford.

With United likely to be without several players due to injury and unavailability on Wednesday, manager Carla Ward may have the chance to test both Ibbotson and Ford against one of the best sides in Europe and there could be possible debuts for other youngsters too.

"It will be a good chance for the youngsters," said the manager. "The only issue is there's potentially going to be one or two who haven't kicked a ball in the first team this season. Having said that, the couple that have come in so far have done alright. Beth had her debut against Millwall and did great and she might play again on Wednesday, we'll just have to see what we've got."

With United unlikely to qualify from a tough group which includes three top tier sides, Ward's long-term view is on the final league match before the winter break at Aston Villa on Sunday.

United kick-started their new era with a win at Boldmere in the cup back in August but after two consecutive league defeats on the road, Ward is prioritising this weekend's league encounter over the Manchester City match.

"I've said all along the cup is the cup. We can experiment but we've certainly got to do that on Wednesday night. 100% I'd have preferred to have the league game against Villa midweek and Man City on the weekend, I think it would help us."

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