CARLTON Fairweather is looking to see Sunderland Ladies take another step forward when his side visit Hibernian tomorrow.
The Lady Black Cats have hit the goal trail over the last two Sundays, running riot 10-0 against Glasgow Rangers at Consett before winning 4-2 at Everton, the club they have traded places with in Women’s Super League 1.
New head coach Fairweather believes the girls are making progress as they build towards the WSL1 opener at Liverpool on Wednesday March 25.
And he says tomorrow’s match against Hibs at Albyn Park, in Broxburn, is another important 90 minutes towards the trip to Merseyside (kick-off 3.30pm).
“It’s going to be a difficult game,” Fairweather told the Echo. “You’d expect that against a Scottish team in Scotland.
“I’ve looked at clips of Hibs, I think they finished third or fourth in their league last year.
“I’m looking forward to the game, we’re well prepared and hopefully we’ll continue to develop as we have been over the last few weeks.
“We did well last week at Everton, we got stronger as the game went on and may be we could have had a couple more goals as well.
“We followed on well from the week before (against Rangers) and I’m hoping to see us keep developing.”
Sunderland will have to cope without the attacking talents of Beth Mead in Edinburgh.
The 20-year-old is travelling away with the England U23 squad tomorrow for a 10-day camp in La Manga in Spain.
She has been in fine form for the Lady Black Cats and has looked effective out wide and shown good threat when she comes inside.
Natalie Gutteridge, back to fitness after missing the 2014 programme, could be in contention to replace her after a series of sub displays in pre-season, while Sophie Williams has also returned after injury and could feature out wide.
Another Williams, Tori, could start after cementing her move from Doncaster Rovers Belles this week.
The 24-year-old has impressed Fairweather so far during her trial at the Academy of Light.
Williams can operate anywhere along the back four as well as midfield and, as well as providing skill and versatility, she brings two precious commodities to the squad: height and experience.
“Tori is going to be a fantastic addition to the squad and the side,” said Fairweather.
“She can play in various positions and is technically very good, she’s big and strong.
“Tori can play left-back, right-back and centre-half, she can slot in midfield too, so she’s very versatile.
“At this point in time we don’t really have a lot of height but she definitely adds that.
“She’s a player who really wants to work hard and play well to get herself back in the England frame.
“That’s her ambition, to get back involved in the England set-up.
“She’s had experience with Doncaster and for Chelsea too and she’s got the quality we need to take us into this level we are going to be playing at.”