Taylor unfazed by transfer gossip with Manchester City focused on top three push

GARETH TAYLOR says transfer rumours will not be a distraction for Manchester City as they target a cup double and a Champions League spot.

And the Citizens may see Jess Park return before the FA Cup final in May with the forward making progress with her calf injury recovery.

Taylor, 49, whose side host Brighton, was speaking following reported rumoursfrom Spain of alleged Real Madrid interest in Caroline Weir.

The Scotland star, who joined City from Liverpool in 2018, signed a two-year contract extension back in January 2020.

And the forward has netted 21 goals in 70 top-flight games so far for the club.

On whether transfer speculation has been a distraction, City boss Taylor said: “For us, it's just (about) realigning the focus as it’s just hearsay and rumours.

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“We're all professionals and we crack on with things. We have a job to do, and we will give it our best.”

City, who are fourth, are looking to capitalise on Manchester United dropping points last weekend in the race to finish third.

The Citizens currently have a game in hand on their Manchester neighbours

And they are targeting their sixth win in seven WSL games against Hope Powell’s Seagulls.

Victory would see them pick up an eleventh straight win across all competitions since a 1-0 loss away at Chelsea in early February.

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Taylor added: "The consistency we've shown and the lack of goals we've given away (compared) to where we were earlier in the season has been remarkable really.

“And that takes perseverance, character and availability of players. It's nothing but positive for me.

“We had difficult moments – there’s no doubt about that.

"But we knew when we had a more improved pool to choose from, it would allow us to do what we’ve done and be really consistent.

“It’s important to analyse and see what we could have done better at the start – on and off the pitch.It’s part of our make-up to try and be better.

"We’re in a good position now and regardless of what happens, there’s still a lot to be done and that’s great in terms of looking to improve."

City will also be targeting a cup double triumph over Chelsea having beaten the Blues in this term’s Conti Cup final.

And the club could see Jess Park return with the starlet working her way back from a calf issue, with Vicky Losada also targeting recovery from injury.

On whether the duo could return this season, Taylor said: "Maybe Jess might be slightly ahead.

"She's come back looking quite good from a calf injury so we may get to see her before the (FA) Cup final.

"Vicky’s (knee injury) is niggly and the smallest twist can give discomfort. They are difficult ones to come back from

“She has been working hard. It’ll be touch-and-go but she's given herself the best chance to get back."

Brighton, currently seventh, are looking to bounce back from a 3-1 home loss to Birmingham.

And Powell, 55, wants her side to push for a strong finish this season with the team three points away from beating their points total last term. 

The Albion boss said: “The ambition is to try and do better than we did last season and for me better means more consistency in our performance.”

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