City lost to Atletico at the last 32 stage last season, and will be eager to make amends this time round, but will face a former striker in the form of Toni Duggan, who is facing the blues for the first time since leaving City in 2017 for Barcelona.
Captain Steph Houghton believes the key to success will be clean sheets, and the blues are yet to concede a goal in the league this season. “We’re in a good place,” the skipper said ahead of Wednesday’s game. “We couldn’t ask for a better start. To have had the clean sheets and wins we’ve had, we should be very proud of ourselves. But we still feel we have a lot more to give.
“We pride ourselves on making sure there’s a zero against the opponents’ name. That’s the basis of who we are as a team. We have very good attacking players but ultimately, for us defenders and the way we’re structured, we have to make sure we keep as many clean sheets as we can.”
But Houghton played down the idea that City women will be looking for revenge when the Spaniards arrive at the Academy Stadium. “I don’t think it’s a case of getting revenge against Atletico. It’s more for us as a team - we want to progress our season. But we know that our performance over the two legs against Atletico last season was not good enough. We fully respect them - they’re a very good team - and we have to make sure that come Wednesday, we’re defensively organised and that when chances come, we take them.”
Keeper Ellie Roebuck is set to keep her place in the side with Karen Bardsley is not yet ready to return. Ellen White is still to make her first appearance in a City shirt but will also miss the game through injury, as will midfielder Laura Coombs. Defender Demi Stokes is back in the squad after injury, but Georgia Stanway will miss out, but the good news is that she has now resumed training and may return for Sunday’s derby against United in the WSL Cup.