Man City: Steph Houghton return could spark a change in WSL fortunes | OneFootball

Man City: Steph Houghton return could spark a change in WSL fortunes

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England and Man City captain Steph Houghton has been pictured back in training after almost four months absent with an ankle injury.

The centre-back sustained the injury in the build-up to England’s meeting with North Macedonia last September and has not featured for club or country since then.

Houghton has been one of many high-profile absentees for Gareth Taylor’s side this season and the team have woefully underperformed as a result.

Despite finishing second in last year’s WSL, City have won just four games this campaign and have the fourth-worst defensive record in the league.

Their defensive woes have stemmed from injuries to key personnel, including Houghton, Esme Morgan and Lucy Bronze. This has led to many players being forced to play out of position.

Houghton’s absence, in particular, has been huge, with the club missing her quality, experience and leadership on the field.

Heavy defeats to Arsenal and Chelsea this season raised questions over Tayor’s future in charge but there were signs of his team beginning to find form again prior to the winter break.

In their last game, City recovered from a goal down to beat Birmingham 3-2, with England regulars Georgia Stanway, Ellen White and Lauren Hemp all getting on the scoresheet.

"It was a huge win,” Taylor said after the game. “It’s really important. We’ve seen some of the results today and yesterday and you’ve just got to keep doing what you do.

"It's no secret the situations we’ve had, this recent one and the injuries sustained. We could put another team out with those absent. It’s incredible really.

“We got that win before the international break and backed it up with another. It’s great. We just need to keep going.”

With the winter break allowing time for players to regain their fitness, Houghton is the latest City star set to make her return.

The 33-year-old posted photos of herself back in training on Twitter and captioned the post “Oh it’s good to be back.”

The club itself shared pictures of Houghton’s involvement but are yet to confirm when exactly she will return to action.

Her impending comeback will no doubt reignite belief of a European finish this season –– something head coach Taylor says is still possible.

With 13 league games still to play, City still have a mountain to climb to qualify for Champions League football but the news of Houghton’s return means the future, for now at least, looks a lot brighter.

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