Fitness fight for Ladies’ big Oxford exam

Beth Mead
Beth Mead
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SUNDERLAND Ladies’ stars Beth Mead and Rachel Furness are facing a fight to be fit for tomorrow’s important trip to lowly Oxford United.

Leading scorer Mead suffered a leg injury in last week’s 2-1 defeat to Doncaster Belles, while playmaker Furness has been battling through the pain barrier for much of the season and will once again be assessed before the game.

Manager Mick Mulhern told the Echo: “They are two very, very important players for us, so we will see how it goes.

“Much of what we create comes through Rachel, while Beth is there to be on end of any the chances we make.

“So it has been a case of wrapping them up in cotton wool this week in the hope they will be fit.

“Both of them will travel with us and I know both will want to play if they possibly can.”

This is the table-topping Lady Black Cats’ penultimate game of the season and they sit five points clear of their only challengers, Doncaster.

But the Belles have three games remaining and their unexpected away victory over Sunderland last Sunday has made the promotion picture a lot less clear-cut.

The Belles host Durham Ladies today. Should they win at the Keepmoat Stadium, Sunderland will be only two points ahead at the top of the table when the Oxford game kicks off at noon tomorrow.

Mulhern said: “When Doncaster came up to us last weekend, they had to go all out for the win.

“Now the baton has been passed to us – we have to go out all out for the win.

“We know we have to look at winning these last two games too guarantee we go up.

“Training has been good this week though, there has been no hangover from the Doncaster game and I know the girls are looking forward to putting things right this weekend.

“You can never predict the outcome of a match, but what I can tell you is that we are travelling to Oxford determined to give it a really good go.

“Everyone at the club wants to bounce back to winning ways.”