Villa Ladies preview: Hunt ready to unleash Wilkinson on Cardiff Ladies
Villa manager Joe Hunt looks set to unleash Katie Wilkinson on Cardiff Ladies this Sunday.
Fab forward Wilkinson found herself on the bench against Sunderland Ladies the previous weekend but that didn't deter her as she came on to bag a goal in the closely-fought contest.
Hunt revealed the decision to drop Wilkinson for the clash with the champions was a "tactical" one and he's got no hesitation in recalling her for latest home fixture, which kicks off at 2pm at Boldmere St Michael's.
He said: "Against Sunderland, I just wanted more energy in midfield.
"That's why Maddie Cusack went in. Maddie can get round the pitch and put pressure on the ball.
"The plan was to bring Katie on with 20 minutes to go to be creative.
"Unfortunately at one-down, Katie was ready to come one when they scored their second. She scored when she entered the action. It was only the timing that I got wrong.
"Katie is a fantastic player. She can plan inbetween the lines so she will drift off centre-backs and when she gets on the ball she brings other people into play.
"She's an excellent link player. She brings Carly Davies into play as the high striker as well as Kelly Clarke and Sherry McCue on either side.
"She's much like a Wayne Rooney at Manchester United. She can play higher up but she's best in the hole. In the U17s she played as a No.9 but she's best as a No.10.
"She's scored five goals in three games so she's a real threat.
"It was a tactical switch to have her on the bench at Sunderland. The girls have been great in that respect. They are very open-minded with that.
"I told them at the start of the season that they might have a blinder one week and miss out the following week because of tactical reasons.
"I told them not to take it personally. Katie was magnificent against Sunderland in terms of her attitude. She was disappointed not to play which I'd expect but she warmed up well pre-match and then she was ready when I needed her."
Another player Hunt singled out for praise for performances over the past few weeks was livewire midfielder Sherry McCue.
He continued: "Sherry has done very well. She was suspended for the Watford game but she's responded brilliantly.
"She's calmer on the pitch and she's not getting involved in things. She's focusing on her own game. She can be fiery but that's good. I want that in a controlled manner."
One thing Hunt definitely wants against Cardiff Ladies is "more of the same" after being delighted with the performance in the 2-1 away loss at champions Sunderland Ladies.
He added: "We may have lost but the performance was magnificent. If we can get that tempo I'll be happy. We were unfortunate with the result.
"We dominated the game in all reality. We played some good stuff. We played well for 90 minutes rather than the 45 minutes in previous games.
"My vision is starting to come through. It takes time but I'm starting to see things paying off."
Emma Follis [ribs] and Jade Richards [personal] look set to miss out but Erin Vaughan [shin] will be fine for the fixture.