West Ham star sends Manchester United message ahead of WSL clash at Old Trafford

West Ham skipper Gilly Flaherty will fulfil an ambition on Saturday when she leads out her side at Old Trafford.

Manchester United Women get the chance to play at the Theatre of Dreams for the first time ever – and the Hammers are their visitors.

And the 29-year-old couldn’t be more excited.

“I think it’s always special for any women’s player to play at a men’s stadium,” she said to the club website ahead of the match.

“Old Trafford is one of the most recognisable stadiums in the world and I’ve never had the opportunity to play there before. I’ve played at the Emirates and Wembley before, but never there, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge of going there and trying to pick up three points.”

Of course, it will be behind closed doors due to the restrictions in place around the coronavirus pandemic – but nonetheless Flaherty is looking forward to the prospect.

“It’s a shame that we’re playing there in the middle of a pandemic and nobody is able to come and watch us in person but being able to walk out onto the pitch and say you’ve played there will be a big moment for everyone,” she said.

“I hope it’s not a one-off and it’s something that we see happen regularly throughout the season.”

United are still in third place in the WSL, while West Ham are rock bottom – but both sides are in the midst of a rocky run of form. Although Casey Stoney’s side have lost only four league matches this season, two of those defeats have been in the last five matches.

Olli Harder’s team have picked up just two points from their last five games, and they are now two points from safety, although they have two matches in hand on second-bottom Bristol City, with the end of the season looming.

“Everyone understands the position that we find ourselves in at the moment,” said Flaherty.

“We need to focus on ourselves and take each game as it comes. We can’t look too far ahead – it’s about going game-by-game and trying to pick up as many points as we possibly can.

“You’re going up against Manchester United at Old Trafford – what more motivation do you need to try and take points off one of the best teams in the division? We need to give our best for the whole 90 minutes.”

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