Chelsea v Sunderland: Carlton Fairweather not scared of trip to WSL1 champions
Carlton Fairweather insists Sunderland Ladies will not view tonight's WSL1 trip to champions Chelsea as a lost cause.
The Lady Black Cats are the rank outsiders for the BT Sport-televised match at Wheatsheaf Park (kick-off 7.45pm).
Sunderland go into the contest just three points off the bottom following a 4-0 home defeat to Liverpool.
And they face a Chelsea side desperate for points for other reasons.
The Blues have suffered unthinkable, to them, back-to-back defeats, losing the all-London FA Cup final to Arsenal before going down 2-0 to title favourites Manchester City.
Another loss tonight and Emma Hayes’ side will be facing the prospect of a bare 2016 cupboard having done the double last year – that makes them a dangerous side.
“I don’t think there is such a thing as a good or bad time to play one of the top sides,” Fairweather told the Echo. “Chelsea will be tough but we are looking forward to the game.
“I know it sounds daft after a 4-0 defeat, but Liverpool has been the best we’ve played in terms of keeping the ball and playing football.
“We’ve played well but, of course, it’s finishing chances and scoring goals which counts.
“We’ve looked back at a DVD of the Liverpool match and they’ve had five shots – one was a penalty and another was an own goal.
“They have scored four and we’ve had a lot more chances – they were clinical and we weren’t, that was the story of the game.”
Sunderland have changed their style a little this season, going a bit less direct.
Last season, Beth Mead scored a hatful of goals, often the beneficiery of a long ball or a flick on from the powerful Rachel Furness.
There is more possession-based play now and Fairweather hopes it will come to fruition.
“We feel a result is coming and we’ll be hoping we can do that tonight,” said the manager, who has Brooke Chaplen as the current leading scorer.
“The fact we are creating chances is great, we are just not being clinical enough. We are putting something together and we have to stay confident that it will work.”
Sunderland miss Maddie Hill who is unavailable due to university commitments but midfielder Krystle Johnson is fit to return.