Norwegian keeper looks to put pressure on Sunderland No1

Keeper 
Hilde Olsen

Keeper Hilde Olsen

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Hilde Olsen is closing in on fitness – and looking to put the pressure on Anke Preuss for the Sunderland Ladies’ number one jersey.

Olsen, who re-joined the Lady Black Cats in the close season, has recovered from a foot injury but is not quite ready to take her place in the squad for the opening match of the WSL1 Spring Series at Birmingham City on Sunday.

Sunderland keeper 
Hilde Olsen

Sunderland keeper Hilde Olsen

The Norwegian left the club at the end of last season – her second campaign on Wearside – but returned after Rachael Laws signed for neighbours Durham.

Olsen’s foot problem has so far ruled her out of the side’s three friendlies and the two FA Cup ties, meaning Preuss, one of the club’s big close-season captures, has established herself between the sticks.

But that won’t stop Olsen from trying to impress boss Melanie Reay when she gets the all-clear from the medical staff. “Me and Anke get along well, we are good friends,“ said the 25-year-old.

“We have a professional attitude and will do as well as we can in training and then it’s down to Mel who is going to play. Whoever plays, the other will help all they can.”

I do believe we can get a lot out of the Spring Series

HILDE OLSEN

Olsen said previous head coach Carlton Fairweather had said both keepers would get a chance in the Spring Series but was now adopting a wait and see approach.

“That was his plan but then he left, but I don’t know what Mel thinks,” she said. “Whatever Mel thinks, me and Anke will work as hard as we can and push each other.”

Olsen says the mood in the camp is good ahead of the campaign and Sunday’s match at Solihull Moors’ ground, despite the loss of some key players. We are close and we are all working as a team,” she said.

“You want as many good players as you can get but the spirit in the squad is very good and we are working hard.

“I do believe we can get a lot out of the Spring Series.”