Fairweather urges Sunderland Ladies to shape up right for Gunners test

Carlton Fairweather
Carlton Fairweather
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HEAD coach Carlton Fairweather expects a major test of his Sunderland Ladies tomorrow,

The Lady Black Cats, flying high in third place, visit Women’s Super League title hopefuls Arsenal (2pm).

Sunderland would leapfrog the Gunners by inflicting a shock victory at Borehamwood.

Fairweather’s side have matched Arsenal’s two wins in three matches, following 2-1 victories over Liverpool and Bristol Academy.

The Cats boss thinks the trip to Hertfordshire will be a similar sort of match to the Ladies’ 1-0 home defeat to Manchester City, though confidence is high after their exciting win over Bristol last time out.

“This is a different sort of game,” said Fairweather. “We’ve prepared thoroughly for Arsenal.

“They are a very good side with very talented players, including England girls.

“It’s probably going to be a similar game to the Man City match.

“Arsenal are a good footballing side, they try to keep possession for long periods and play through the thirds.

“City keep the ball for long spells as well, so we have to maintain our shape and discipline.”

Fairweather, while in awe of the Arsenal side, is not dismissing Sunderland’s chances.

Far from it, he is looking to see them carry on their form into the capital trip. “For us, it’s an ideal opportunity to show what we can do,” said Fairweather, whose side are looking dangerous in attack with Beth Mead, Brooke Chaplen and Keira Ramshaw on song.

“As long as you are creating chances then you are always in with a chance of scoring and always in the game.”

While the 53-year-old has been purring at the forward play from the Cats, he has also been happy with the defensive efforts, but there has been one thing missing so far.

“It’s great that we’ve done as well as we’ve done so far and it’s fantastic to be third in the league,” he said.

“But the question may be now is can we keep a clean sheet?

“If you do, you are always guaranteed to get something out of the game. That is the test for us this week.”