Carlton Fairweather expecting a reaction from Sunderland Ladies against Liverpool

Carlton Fairweather.
Carlton Fairweather.

Carlton Fairweather believes Sunderland Ladies have the players and the character to bounce back at Liverpool tonight (kick-off 5.30pm).

The Lady Black Cats return to the football field tonight at Widnes in WSL1 following their FA Cup drubbing at Arsenal.

“I’m expecting a reaction from the girls,” said Fairweather.

“I’m confident we can bounce back.

“We’ve watched snippets of the Arsenal game and shown the players what we need to work on.

“The girls have taken a logical look at the defeat in that it was a cup tie, we’ve not lost any league points.

“They will learn from what went wrong and take that into the Liverpool game.

“We’re really looking forward to it and we’ll be going out there to prove the doubters wrong.”

It was the worst result in Fairweather’s year-long reign at Sunderland.

And the head coach has been able to draw on the experience of heavy beatings during his time at Wimbledon.

“I remember two years running we started the season with big defeats to Arsenal,” he recalled.

“The first time I think Arsenal won 5-1 at Plough Lane and the year after we lost 5-0 at Highbury,” he said.

“Both times the squad pulled together and we had really good seasons.

“Defeats like Sunday can happen and the experience can make you stronger and that can be the case here.

“We had to pick the girls up at the start of the week, but training has gone very well.”

The Sunderland boss must make at least one change with Abby Holmes banned after her sending off at Arsenal.

Hayley Sharp is set to return to the side after recovering from a long-term knee problem.

Sharp could resume her old central defensive partnership with skipper Steph Bannon, with Tori Williams switching to right-back.

Stephanie Roche will return to the squad after missing the match at Borehamwood and Maddie Hill, Megan Beer and Danielle Brown could also feature.

The trio are part of the Sunderland Ladies Development team who are running away with the Northern League.

They will come into a WSL1 side who drew their league opener 1-1 with promoted Reading.

Liverpool, after huge changes to their squad in the close season, started WSL1 with a 1-0 victory over Birmingham at their Select Security Stadium at Widnes.