Kat Smith has named an unchanged 18-player extended squad for Western United’s Liberty A-League Women Round 11 blockbuster against Melbourne Victory.
While sticking with the same group of players that has seen her pick up two wins and a draw through her first four matches as Western United boss, Smith offered an update on two key players that she has not been able to call upon thus far.
Speaking in her pre-match press conference, Smith said both Kahli Johnson and Catherine Zimmerman are stepping up their respective injury recoveries and are drawing closer to selection.
Johnson has not played since the 2-0 defeat to Western Sydney Wanderers at the end of the November, after which she sustained a foot injury while on international duty with the Young Matildas.
The 19-year-old had been in fine form up to that point and Smith said she has made positive progress in her recovery and will now focus on building her fitness ahead of a return to the side.
Zimmerman is yet to feature for Western United since joining the Club from Melbourne Victory in the off-season, recovering from a fractured foot.
Smith revealed the American attacker has bene stepping up her training over the past week and will continue to work towards making her debut in Green and Black.
Coming off her 100th game in the Liberty A-League last week, Chloe Logarzo will look to build on her impressive form and shine at The Home of the Matildas.
Vice-captain Grace Maher will move one step closer to a milestone achievement of her own, with this set to be her 99th match in the Liberty A-League – 18 of which were in Victory colours.
Fellow former Victory player Adriana Taranto will move to 49 appearances in the competition if she features on Saturday.
Taranto’s three goals so far this season are a joint team-high along with Logarzo, while twin sister Melissa leads the side with a trio of assists. The two twins linked up for a goal last time out against Victory and will be hoping to do the same again.
Keiwa Hieda enjoyed a special moment in that fixture with her 90th-minute winner marking the first goal of her professional football career. The Japanese winger has featured in every game for United so far this season and will be eying another significant contribution this time around.
Full Western United extended squad
Western United squad: 1. Alyssa DALL’OSTE (gk), 2. Stacey PAPADOPOULOS, 4. Jaclyn SAWICKI, 6. Chloe LOGARZO, 7. Kiara DE DOMIZIO, 9. Hannah KEANE, 11. Emma ROBERS, 12. Lucy RICHARDS, 13. Avaani PRAKASH, 14. Natasha DAKIC, 15. Adriana TARANTO, 16. Melissa TARANTO, 18. Grace MAHER, 19. Tyla Jay VLAJNIC, 20. Keiwa HIEDA, 21. Hillary BEALL (gk), 22. Alana CERNE, 24. Julia SARDO
Ins: 7. Kiara DE DOMIZIO, 12. Lucy RICHARDS
Unavailable: 10. Kahli JOHNSON (injured), 17. Raquel DERALAS (injured), 34. Catherine ZIMMERMAN (injured)
Liberty A-League Women Round 11
Melbourne Victory vs Western United
Saturday, 6 January
Kick-off: 6:00pm AEDT
The Home of the Matildas, Bundoora
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live and free on 10Play, and on Paramount+