Sam Kerr’s Thrilling Comeback: Chelsea Striker Set to Face Manchester City After Injury

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Sam Kerr has had a calf injury since the Women’s World Cup; Chelsea striker missed opening day victory over Tottenham; Emma Hayes confirms Kerr is back in full training and is available for selection to face Manchester City on Sunday; Kick-off 12.30pm

The Australian forward missed Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Tottenham on the opening day of the season due to a calf injury that has troubled her since the Women’s World Cup.

But Kerr, who has scored 86 goals in 110 appearances for the Blues, will be part of Emma Hayes’ squad this weekend.

“She’s back in full training,” said Hayes at her pre-match press conference. “For Sam, she’s never perfect, she always wants a little bit more, but she’s available for selection.”

Fran Kirby made her first appearance for Chelsea since February when she came on as a second-half substitute against Tottenham, but Hayes wouldn’t reveal if the forward was fit enough to start on Sunday.

“We’ll make that decision today (Friday) once we analyse training and speak with the medical team,” she said. “Fran is available for selection too.

“I don’t think anyone is out injured apart from Catarina Macario, who’s had a long-term issue with her ACL. She’s still a few weeks away at least. Katerina Svitkova has a long-term injury too.”

City began their season with a 2-0 win at West Ham and are one of the favourites to challenge for the WSL title. Hayes is wary of the challenge ahead.

“Man City are a team that have had minimal disruption over the summer,” she said. “With (Jill) Roord coming in, adding a lot in that No 10 position, she’s got a goal threat. They’ve got cohesion in the way they play, there’s confidence in what they do.

“They’re a team that can build up with good width, low full-backs, inverted full-backs, they’ve got good variety in their play. They’ve got a player in (Yui) Hasegawa at the base of their midfield who’s been pivotal to their success.

“As we know, they’ve got (Lauren) Hemp, (Chloe) Kelly, really good one-v-one players, and then Bunny Shaw – a prolific striker. A top team and they haven’t lost in 20 games or something like that, it’s a really difficult place to go.”

Kerr return could help Chelsea sharpen up

Sky Sports’ Sam Blitz: “Week one and Emma Hayes wasn’t happy. Despite being delighted with their opening weekend win over Tottenham, the Chelsea manager admitted her displeasure at the performance.

“Laboured, complacent, poor and a step off were some of the words Hayes used. A repeat of that display at title rivals Manchester City on Sunday and Chelsea will be on the wrong end of a result.

“Perhaps the return of Sam Kerr, who was slightly behind the rest of her peers in recovering from the World Cup last week, will help boost Chelsea’s chances.

“Chelsea had 21 shots against Spurs last week and could have done with Kerr behind most of them to get an easier result. With Erin Cuthbert set for a return to the Chelsea matchday squad too, this is a chance for the Blues to send a message to their rivals about depth.”

‘We’re spending too much time talking about VAR’

A week that has been dominated by discussion around VAR followed Hayes’ comments that it is “ludicrous” and “embarrassing” that goal-line technology and VAR are not in the women’s game after Chelsea’s Guro Reiten was denied a goal against Tottenham when the ball clearly crossed the line.

“I just want consistency for all facilities and competitions to do the same thing. I’ve been an advocate for technology but we’ve got to introduce all of it for everyone, otherwise not at all.

“When it comes to goal-line technology, it’s either over or not. If there is a simple solution for it, which there is, then it would be ideal.

“I never see the rugby world discuss technology the way we do in football. We have to look at that. Yes, we have to improve the communications between the officials and have clarity in the back offices to make sure we streamline that, but I think we’re maybe spending too much time talking about it.”

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