Steph Bannon is fighting fit – and desperate to lead Sunderland Ladies to three points when the Women’s Super League 1 programme resumes on Sunday.
The Lady Black Cats take on Notts County Women at Hetton Centre following the mid-season break for the World Cup, where England finished third.
Bannon hasn’t played since suffering elbow ligament damage while trying to score for Sunderland in the 4-2 defeat in the away game with Notts County back in April.
The interruption in the campaign has allowed the defender to recover and give Sunderland the opportunity to strengthen their squad, bringing in two new signings, Stephanie Roche and Hilde Olsen.
And Bannon says while Sunderland had no players in Mark Sampson’s squad in Canada, that could work to their advantage against a Notts County side that have four England girls, including Laura Bassett, who scored an unfortunate injury-time OG in the semi-final defeat to Japan.
“We had no players there, but I’m hoping that could work in our favour,” said the 26-year-old.
“We’ve had a little break, but then been back in for a number of weeks for a mini pre-season.
“We’ve been able to work together and stick together and other WSL1 clubs have not had that luxury. I’m hoping Notts County’s England girls come back a little tired and benefit from our togetherness
“We must look to take advantage on the day.”
Bannon is looking to avenge the defeat at Meadow Lane, where the Lady Black Cats had more scoring chances than their hosts.
The central defender missed much of the game, having been injured mid-way through the first half and taken to hospital.
“I don’t remember much,” she smiled. “But I’ve watched it back on DVD. We played all right, but we were done in a mad 20-minute spell.
“Their goals were poor from our point of view. We’ve spoken as a team about it and we’ve got to act on that.
“It would be nice to go out and avenge that defeat.
“I’ve been training and I’m available for selection.
“Everyone has been trying to prove themselves in sessions, myself included, and work hard to be in the best shape.
“It’s going to be interesting and we want to keep our good position going through to the end of the season.”