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Gareth Taylor allows Man City to rest ahead of West Ham clash

Gareth Taylor allows Man City to rest ahead of West Ham clash
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The sides meet in the FA Cup fifth round just a week after their league match.

Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor said he had given his players a few days off ahead of their rematch with West Ham in the FA Cup.

Taylor's side finished second in the league behind Chelsea and won 1-0 at Sunday's fifth-round opponents on the final day of the season.

This weekend's ties will be the end of the competition for the current season, with the quarter-finals onward being played during the next campaign.

"We took a couple of days in terms of giving the girls a little bit more of a breather because they obviously had a long season and we wanted to finish this season strong," Taylor said.

"We've been fairly consistent and we wanted to finish off this game.

"We've given them that extended time just because we are playing West Ham again so we know all about them, there's no need to delve into the unknown a little bit so we're really prepped on that front.

"There's a couple of various options that they could look at doing.

"Everything's been looking pretty good, there's going to be commitments elsewhere during the summer for a lot of our players so I would imagine minds would be turning to that but we're just trying to realign the focus really and make sure we're prepped as well as we can be so that come the restart we're in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup."

Arsenal host Crystal Palace in what is Joe Montemurro's final game as manager – the Australian moving on after three and a half years in the job.

Montemurro delivered the Women's Super League title in 2019 and is set for an emotional swansong – but is keen to make sure Palace do not go underestimated in his last match at the helm.

"Will I be able to keep my emotions? We will have to wait and see," he said.

"I am going to miss everything. It is going to be tough but I just want to make sure it is a celebration and a nice opportunity for everyone to spend the last time together and we move on from there.

"We will have to obviously focus everyone (on the match) – I love being a part of the matchday and I will make sure I enjoy the last matchday as head coach of Arsenal Women."

Carla Ward will take charge of Birmingham for the last time against Southampton on Sunday while Casey Stoney will also be stepping down from her role as Manchester United Women head coach at the end of the season, after her side's match against newly-promoted Leicester.

Elsewhere, Brighton host Huddersfield, Charlton travel to Blackburn and Tottenham will host Sheffield United.

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