Sam Kerr backed to be flying in Cup final

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has backed Sam Kerr to get over jet lag and be fit and fresh for Sunday’s Women’s FA Cup final (0100 Monday AEDT).

Kerr flew back in midweek after playing twice for Australia against the United States and Hayes is trusting in a quick turnaround from her superstar Matildas striker.

“She can’t train, we have to get her fresh, but Sam is a top professional and we have sleep plans, recovery plans for these players, and Sam will follow that,” said Hayes on Friday.

“I spoke with her and she said she feels much better than she did last time she returned.

“She’ll give what her best can be, because these players are used to doing that, even if it’s not best for them. It’s Sam Kerr – she’ll be fit and ready to go come Sunday.”

Arsenal have a similar problem with their Australian trio Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord and Lydia Williams, but manager Jonas Eidevall said everyone was fit except American international Tobin Heath.

Both managers have had to cope with limited preparation with the final coming so soon after an international break.

It’s being staged this weekend as Sunday marks exactly 100 years since the Football Association imposed a ban on women’s football that lasted half a century.

The final was delayed from its normal May date by the coronavirus pandemic, with the quarter-finals onwards being played this season.

Hayes added of preparations: “It’s mental. I understand the FA want to fit it on an important weekend. I totally get it.

“But coming back from an international break the team have come back in, they’ve had a morning off. Training session for some, not for others. It won’t be until tomorrow that I’ll know what the team will be.

“It’s weird circumstances going into a cup final, but (it’s) one I’m really excited about.”

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