SUNDERLAND Ladies face a long wait for their next taste of the Women’s Super League programme.
But Carlton Fairweather has the next two months mapped out before the Lady Black Cats return to action against Notts County on Sunday, July 12.
The head coach will work them hard in training over the next fortnight, as much technically and tactically as physically, before sending the away on their holidays.
When they return in mid-June, they will begin the countdown to a busy July which features five league and cup games in the space of 18 breathtaking days.
Fairweather may also look to strengthen his squad during the two month break in the domestic game while the World Cup takes place in Canada.
“We’re training for a couple more weeks just to keep things ticking over and then have a complete fortnight off,” he told the Echo.
“Then we’ll come back in and have a mini pre-season and that gives us something like six weeks before we start again in WSL1.”
Sunderland Ladies go into their breather looking very good indeed.
Many people’s relegation favourites are fourth in the league, above champions Liverpool, expected title contenders Manchester City and last season’s runners-up Birmingham City.
Only Notts County have scored more goals than Sunderland and the Black Cats have two of the league’s leading scorers, with Beth Mead on four and Brooke Chaplen on three.
Sunderland have performed superbly, winning three of their six games, and Fairweather hopes it will strengthen the squad’s belief for the resumption of the elite division.
“I think so, this has given the girls a lift,” he said.
“Hopefully we can build on what we’ve got already, get performances and results.
“We need to perform better than we did on Saturday against Birmingham if we are to win more games and get more points.”
The Sunderland result against the Blues Ladies was an astonishing one.
Birmingham had gone into the game having conceded just three goals in their previous 450 minutes, only for Sunderland to bury them with three in 45.
“If you look at their results, they don’t concede many,” he said.
“They are a very mean side, they defend well and keep the ball well.
“They caused us all sorts of problems, but couldn’t score.
“But I have to give credit to the girls for defending well.”
England boss Mark Sampson named five former Sunderland players in his England Women’s squad for the World Cup.
Skipper Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Jordan Nobbs, Lucy Bronze and Carly Telford are all in the 23-strong squad for the competition in Canada next month.
But there was no place for South Shields girl Demi Stokes.
England open their campaign against France on June 9, three days after the tournament starts, before finishing their group with matches against which also faces group games against Mexico and Colombia.
England squad for World Cup: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Arsenal), Carly Telford (Notts County); Alex Scott (Arsenal), Laura Bassett (Notts County), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Alex Greenwood (Notts County), Casey Stoney (Arsenal); Fara Williams (Liverpool), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Karen Carney (Birmingham), Jade Moore (Birmingham), Katie Chapman (Chelsea), Jo Potter (Birmingham); Eni Aluko (Chelsea), Lianne Sanderson (Arsenal), Toni Duggan (Manchester City), Fran Kirby (Reading), Jodie Taylor (Portland Thorns), Ellen White (Notts County).