HEAD coach Claire Robinson says Sunderland Ladies have the guts for glory this weekend as they look to seal promotion to the top flight.
The Lady Black Cats, who are clear at the top of Women’s Super League 2 with just a handful of games remaining, will be promoted tonight if they beat second-placed Doncaster Belles at Eppleton CW (7.30pm).
And Robinson says she has seen enough this season to know that her side will have the spirit, the resolve and the belief that will be needed.
She told the Echo: “It’s important to get the job done and that’s not going to be easy because Doncaster are a strong side.
“But we’ve got a winning mentality at the club and a never-say-die approach too.
“I’ve seen it many times over the season, but probably the one which stands out was our game against Watford in May where we were 2-0 down, away from home, at half-time.
“As coaches, we weren’t happy with the performance at the break, the players weren’t happy with the performance either.
“But there were no recriminations – it was very relaxed, we believed in each other, made a few tweaks, got back into it and won 4-2.
“That’s pretty much summed us up this season.
“We have that winning mentality which we’ve developed over several seasons and, on top of that, we’ve got a very supportive team attitude.”
Robinson has little doubt where so much of that togetherness comes from.
“I think a lot of it stems from the fact that the team has grown up together,” she mused. “It hasn’t just been a side where it has been created by players being brought in.
“Our side has spent years and years developing as a squad together and that has been fantastic.
“You’ll here a lot of talk about ‘the Sunderland family’ around the club, but it’s true that we’re all in it together.
“And part of that is this attitude of not being satisfied with what we do but always looking to improve.”
Now Robinson is hoping for a family celebration on home turf this evening with a victory over Doncaster which would put the seal on a season which has seen the Wearsiders go unbeaten since it began in February.
“We want to win the game and we’re aware that there’s more pressure on Doncaster than us,” she said.
“Regardless of that, we just have to keep doing what we have done well all season.
“It’s a season where we’ve not taken anything for granted, we’ve just concentrated on ourselves.
“Up until a few weeks ago, it was still a three-horse race because Reading were still in with a shout.
“Now it has come down to it being between us and the Belles.
“We would like to settle matters tonight.
“If we don’t, we’ll finish the season concentrating on our remaining performances and trusting that will be enough to see us promoted.
“But, yes, it would be great to have the fairytale ending of winning the title in front of our home fans by beating our only rivals for the title.”
Tickets for tonight’s game are £2 for adult season-card holders and free for Under-16 card holders (both on production of their season card).
General admission is priced £4 for adults and £1 for under-18s and over-65s on the turnstiles