Norwegian star Hilde Gunn Olsen in for keeps with Lady Black Cats

Hilde Gunn Olsen
Hilde Gunn Olsen
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Hilde Gunn Olsen has become the latest international signing by Sunderland Ladies – and could get the chance to make an instant impression.

The 23-year-old follows Republic of Ireland wonder goal girl Stephanie Roche through the entrance door at the Stadium of Light.

And the Norway U23 international looks set to make her Women’s Super League debut this Sunday when Notts County and their contingent of World Cup heroes visit the Hetton Centre.

Olsen will almost certainly need to deputise for the Lady Black Cats No 1, Rachael Laws.

The Sunderland vice-captain, an ever-present during Sunderland’s fine first half of the WSL1 season, is struggling to recover in time for this weekend.

Laws suffered a knee injury early in the mid-season break for the World Cup and continues to undergo treatment.

Head coach Carlton Fairweather would love to have her fit for the resumption of WSL 1 but will have no concerns over Olsen.

She has played already in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Durham Wildcats, keeping a clean sheet in a game Sunderland won 4-0 through a hat-trick by Beth Mead and a goal from Hayley Sharp.

Olsen signed a contract yesterday, much to the delight of Fairweather.

“She’s played already and trained with the girls,” said the head coach. “She’s a good shot-stopper and is only 23 so she’s still relatively young for a keeper.

“As much as she is Norwegian, her English is very good so her communication is great.

“She’s setting in fine with the group.

“Hilde is an excellent signing for us, increasing competition within the squad for a place in the side.”

Olsen had been the first-choice keeper for Bergen outfit Arna-Bjørnar, the fourth Norwegian club in her career to date, while she has also represented two Swedish sides, Linköping and AIK..

The new signing is pleased to have been given of a full-time contract and the opportunity to play WSL1.

“I am excited to have signed for Sunderland and to play in the top flight of women’s football in England,” said Olsen, who is from Grimstad in the south of Norway.

“I have been highly impressed by the club and what it has to offer.

“The facilities are incredible and I’m looking forward to the opportunity of training full time.”

Olsen’s arrival follows hot on the heels of the capture Irish international Roche.

The Lady Black Cats swooped for the attacking ace, who was the 2014 runner-up in the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal in the world, after leaving Houston Dash in the USA.

Fairweather is looking forward to Sunday’s test against third-placed Notts County who are just one spot and two points above his side.

“We have enjoyed a solid start to the season and are very much looking forward to getting started again this weekend,” he said.

Notts County will include England World Cup defender Laura Bassett, plus her colleagues from Canada, Alex Greenwood, Ellen White and Carl Telford, the former Sunderland keeper being the unfortunate only member of Mark Sampson’s squad of 23 not to feature in any game.