Saturday, May 28

Fran Kirby: Emma Hayes confirms Chelsea forward is available for Women’s FA Cup final

Chelsea’s Fran Kirby is available for Sunday’s Women’s FA Cup final against Manchester City after completing a week of full training.

The forward has not featured since February due to fatigue, and in April was ruled out for an indefinite period of time, leaving her a doubt for Euro 2022.

Kirby returned to individual training last week and was at Kingsmeadow to collect a WSL winner’s medal as Chelsea dramatically dispatched Manchester United on Sunday. She is now in contention to feature as the Blues attempt to defend their FA Cup crown against Manchester City at Wembley.

“We’ve got a full strength squad to pick from, including Fran Kirby, so we’re going into the position in a much better place than we did for the Continental Cup final,” Emma Hayes said ahead of Sunday’s final.

“I don’t want to put any pressure on her because I love that kid and she’s been through a lot, but she looked like she hadn’t even been away. She looked that good in training.

“It was nice to see a smile on her face, and she’s participated in everything. At the beginning of the week we said: ‘let’s see how it goes, let’s do one bit of one session day one’, and she came out of that and was like: ‘it’s not enough’. And then we did day two and I said: ‘let’s use you as a neutral or you play half blocks’ and she said: ‘I’m fine’. She’s been in training all week so I’m over the moon.”

Kirby has history in FA Cup finals, having set last season’s showpiece event alight alongside Sam Kerr as Chelsea stormed to a 3-0 victory over Arsenal.

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The Blues have won the competition on three previous occasions, but are attempting to successfully defend the trophy for the first time.

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