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Preview: Manchester United Women vs Southampton Women

by Zoe Hodges

Manchester United Women will face Championship side Southampton on Sunday in the FA Cup.

Manager Marc Skinner and his team are coming off the back of two league victories over Aston Villa and Brighton and will be keen to continue this winning streak this weekend in the Cup.

If United win, they will progress through to the quarterfinals.

They are hoping to go one better than last year as they were narrowly beaten in the final by Chelsea.

Skinner said, “We’re in a results game but performances have been good. There have been a few this season where we’ve been below par. And unfortunately, as you know, we’ve set a really high bar for us to follow from last season.”

Meanwhile, Southampton have had a strong start to their second season in the Championship.

The Saints only turned professional last year and finished the season in sixth.

They currently sit in 4th, just three points behind league leaders Charlton.

“Marianne [Spacey-Kale] has got them playing some really nice football and they’re a team that is very good to watch. I expect a ‘no fear’ game from them against us on Sunday. But because of that, we have to put a performance in where we almost strike fear into them.”

After going off injured against Brighton last weekend, Jayde Riviere looks doubtful for Sunday’s clash but is expected to return for United’s away trip to Arsenal in the league next weekend.

Meanwhile, Aoife Mannion is expected to be back in the side this weekend after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Alyssa Aherne is also in contention after returning from a loan spell at Everton.

“If the right moment arises, then of course we’ll look to put her into the game. But apart from that, we’re going to still continue to grow in training and off the field. And as we said, she’s definitely a future project for Manchester United.”

Skinner is taking the season game by game now after falling behind the top three and being knocked out of the Conti Cup. However, he told press that he is not placing any more importance on this game than the others.

“We want to win things here. We’re ambitious. So what we want to do here is focus on the game, focus on the performance against a very good team away on Sunday. If we do that, then we have every chance to progress.”

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