Manchester City Women

Chloe Kelly return pencilled in for Man City's WSL clash with West Ham

Ali Rampling
Chloe Kelly could make her first team return against West Ham in April
Chloe Kelly could make her first team return against West Ham in April / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor has revealed that Chloe Kelly's return to first team action has been pencilled in for their WSL clash with West Ham on Saturday 2 April.

Kelly has been sidelined since May 2021 after rupturing her ACL during City's league victory over Birmingham.

Taylor has previously spoken about taking a cautious approach with the winger's comeback given the serious nature of the injury, and should she get any minutes at West Ham, they will be from the bench.

"Chloe's another couple of days down the line in terms of getting training minutes under her belt so she's not too far away," Taylor said ahead of City's WSL encounter with Birmingham on Sunday.

"The plan is she'll be available for minutes next weekend at West Ham so that's the plan at the moment - always subject to change depending on how she checks in, but that's the outline for her which is great.

"I think it's important we manage her transition back to games and the intensity of the games in the right manner and we make sure she's ready in the right time to start a game. At the minute it won't be from the start."

Kelly had been one of the club's star performers during the 2020/21 season, contributing 10 goals and 11 assists in 21 WSL appearances before her campaign was curtailed due to the injury.

The England international is one of numerous players to have been sidelined for City during patches of the 2021/22 season, and Taylor admitted having her back will be another boost for his side - who are currently on a seven-game winning streak.

"It gives you a huge option," the City boss added. "It's an option we've not had all season, and it's similar to my first season last year with not having Lauren [Hemp] for the first six months. We've kind of seen that with a few players already; not having Ellie [Roebuck] for the first half of the season, not having Lucy [Bronze] for the first half of the season, so getting these players back is great.

"We look really healthy at the moment, everyone's really contributing whether that be at training, in the games. It's just a great option as a coach to have someone like Chloe Kelly coming back."