Sunderland look for big support in crunch clash

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SUNDERLAND Ladies are hoping the Wearside roar will help lift them into WSL1 tomorrow night.

Manager Mick Mulhern says he is delighted that the crunch game has been put back to a 7.30pm kick-off, allowing fans who watch Gus Poyet’s side take on Stoke at the Stadium of Light on the afternoon more time to make it to the Hetton Centre afterwards.

The Lady Black Cats take on the Doncaster Belles in a game which will guarantee the Wearsiders promotion should they win it and Mulhern wants to make the most of home support.

“It would be great to frighten the life out of Donny Belles by the level and noise of our support,” said Mulhern.

“I’m hoping it’s going to work out for us because it gives Sunderland fans the chance to get home, have a cup of tea, and then come out again to support us.

“There’s a lot of Sunderland fans who live in the Durham area who are just down the road from the Hetton Centre and it would be great to see them pop along.

“But it would be nice as well to think that a few of the Durham Ladies’ fans might come along too.

“They are our neighbours and if the roles were reversed and Durham were going for a promotion game, I know that it would be nice if we as a club went over to show support for them.”

Mulhern’s view was echoed by coach Claire Robinson, who is delighted that support will come from as far away as London.

“Southern-based Sunderland fans have adopted us this season and as well as watching the men’s games they have been coming to ours as well.

“And I know that quite a few of them are coming up this weekend having made plans to go to both of Sunderland’s games.

“We want to show as many fans as possible what we are about and we want their support as well because that’s important for such a big game.”

The players too are relishing the prospect not only of the top-of-the-table game against the only side which can pip them to promotion, but also the occasion.

Goalkeeper Rachael Laws said: “The more the merrier really. I don’t think the game needs building up too much because it is obvious how big it is.

“But we’re expecting a real atmosphere and I think that is only going to make it more enjoyable for us at home.”