Beth Mead loves scoring goals but says she will be happy to share them around this season as Sunderland go for glory.
Mead will spearhead the Lady Black Cats’ attack at Arsenal tomorrow in the semi-final of the SSE Women’s FA Cup.
While the season is only three games old – two cup ties and the WSL1 opener – English women’s football’s 2015 golden boot winner is currently being outscored at Sunderland.
Team-mate Brooke Chaplen leads the way on three goals, one more than the 20-year-old, who has provided the assists for the former Everton girl.
“I’ve scored a couple and had a few assists,” Mead told the Echo. “Brooke is looking good and hopefully goals are coming from other areas.
“We are maybe not as predictable as we were and that’s good for us.”
It’s been good so far for Carlton Fairweather’s team, who have scored six times and conceded only one.
But a semi-final showdown with the Gunners is far removed from two matches against promoted Reading and WSL2 outfit Yeovil Town.
Mead says there is respect and admiration for Arsenal, who finished one spot above fourth-placed Sunderland in the league last year.
“I’ve watched Arsenal a couple of times on TV and seen other footage,” said the striker, who has been nominated for the Young Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards.
“They are an impressive team who have made more big signings over the winter.
“I think it speaks volumes for Arsenal that all their players were away on international duty over the last week.
“They are very good, but this is the semi-final of the FA Cup, anything can happen.
“We are a good side too and we’ll be looking to prove ourselves.”
Arsenal have experienced a mixed start to the season, winning against Reading in WSL1 and losing 2-0 at title rivals Manchester City, though they played most of the game with 10 players after a first-half red card.
The Gunners have been at their best in the FA Cup, coming from behind in both ties against Birmingham and Notts County to force extra-time and then win the penalty shoot-out.
But the lure of Wembley will drive on Sunderland, though Mead says they are trying not to fantasise about the May 14 final.
“It’s hard not to think about it,” she said. “It’s potentially a massive occasion.
“But we have to stay focused on the task in hand.
“We must put Wembley aside for the 90 or 120 minutes or more tomorrow.
“Yes, we want to get through, but we have to be focused on Arsenal.”