SUNDERLAND Ladies full-back Abby Holmes is looking for success in league and cup this season, writes Neil Watson.
The 23-year-old right-back last Saturday fired one of the goals that helped the Black Cats move two points clear of Doncaster Belles at the top of the FA Women’s Super League 2.
Sunderland defeated Yeovil 2-0 at Hetton to make it six wins out of six in the league.
Tomorrow, attention turns to the group stage of the Continental Cup, with the Wearsiders visiting WSL1 big spenders Manchester City, who include England stars, and former Sunderland players, Steph Houghton and Jill Scott.
Sunderland, City and the Belles are all tied on six points at the top of Group Two with two games to play.
And with a place in the semi-finals awaiting the team that finishes top, Holmes is adamant that Sunderland won’t have one eye on the WSL2 league title race - they visit Doncaster in their next league game - in the remaining cup games at City and then at home to Everton.
“I think each game is as important as each other,” she said.
“We have to turn up to every game 100 per cent focussed on that game.
“The cup is totally different to the league as we get to play WSL1 teams and that is a test for us. If we are not 100 per cent focussed on the game we are about to play, we could get punished.”
That happened in their cup game at Liverpool in May when the reigning league champions raced away to a 6-0 victory, and Sunderland will be looking to push star-studded Manchester City much closer.
Holmes, who recently qualified as a PE teacher, was thrilled to get on the scoresheet last week, producing a sweet finish into the corner of the net after a surging run forward.
“I was pushing forward from the first whistle and we had a couple of early chances,” she said,
“I found myself in a central position from a forward run. It was on my left and it opened up for a shot, so I just hit it!
“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was in!
“My last goal was at home to Reading last season, so this one was a long time coming!”
Sunderland and Doncaster were tied at the top of the league before last weekend’s games, but Doncaster drew 0-0 at Millwall on Sunday to drop their first points of the season,
“It is still early in the season, but to see anyone drop points at any stage is good for us,” said Holmes.
“But it’s not just Doncaster – anyone in that league who drops points is good. Teams are taking points off each other so you never know what can happen to the league table from week to week. Other teams can certainly challenge for the title.
“The standard has definitely got higher as players are training more and want to win promotion to WSL1. That’s what everyone is striving towards.
“The season is going well for us at the moment, even though we feel within ourselves that we havent really played our best yet.
“We will take each game as it comes and our own fate is up to us. We just have to keep getting results regardless of who wins and loses around us.”
H Durham host Liverpool at New Ferens Park tomorrow (2pm).
Continental Cup Group Two
P W D L F A Pts
Doncaster Rovers Belles 3 2 0 1 5 4 6
Manchester City Women 3 2 0 1 4 3 6
Sunderland AFC Ladies 3 2 0 1 5 6 6
Liverpool Ladies 3 1 1 1 7 2 4
Everton Ladies 3 1 1 1 3 1 4
Durham Women 3 0 0 3 1 9 0