Former Sunderland Ladies star Demi Stokes says she and her rampant Manchester City side will not take a win against the Lady Black Cats for granted when they meet tomorrow.
The two sides clash at South Shields’ Mariners Park (2pm) with WSL1 leaders City on an 18-game winning run that started last season.
Sunderland are fifth in the league, after three wins and four defeats so far.
It’s a massive task for Sunderland to take on a side packed full of internationals, including two more ex-Sunderland stars in Steph Houghton and Jill Scott, but South Shields-born Stokes says there will be co complacency on the part of the blues.
“There’s no chance of us getting complacent for Sunderland because we don’t disrespect any team,” said the 26-year-old, who came through the ranks at Sunderland to be a first-team regular between 2007 and 2011 in something of a golden era for the team under the management on Mick Mulhern.
“We’ll try not to focus too much on them, it’s all about us and what we can do and I think if we continue to do that and keep pushing our standards from each other then we’ll be all right.
“It sounds brilliant, winning 18 games in a row, but it means nothing if we go on to lose the next game or if we do become complacent.
“We’ve got a good group and we’re all aware that your next loss is around the corner if you do take your foot off the gas.
“We’re just going to keep pushing our standards, take each game as it comes and not worry about making it 19 wins. Let’s just win the next game coming up.”
City have won all six of their league games so far this season with a goal record of 24 for and just seven against. They are two points about main rivals Chelsea in the table.
Sunderland’s goal record stands at seven for and 18 against, yet they have done well to have won three games to lie just below the ‘big four’ in a league where there is quite a gulf in standards.
Sunderland go into the game boosted by a 3-0 success over Birmingham City last time out, with goals coming from Dominique Bruinenberg, Hayley Sharp and Abbey Joice.
In the Sping Series last year, Sunderland battled superbly at home to City before losing out to a last-gasp goal from Georgia Stanway.
City continue to bring in new talent, with the latest being Denmark striker Nadia Nadim, who has scored in both of her first two games for the club.
She opened her account with the opening goal against Reading in a 5-2 win, before scoring the winner in City’s Continental Cup semi-final against Chelsea.
Sunderland goalkeeper Rachael Laws is well aware of the challenge ahead, but is looking forward to the game.
“We look at Manchester City, and we know it’s going to be a tough test,” she said. “Any game is a tough test but the top teams are even tougher.
“We’ll do our best and hopefully, since we are at home, we’ll be able to implement our gameplan on them and take the game to them.”
l In WSL2, it’s second v third when Millwall host Durham at noon on Sunday.
Millwall, like leaders Doncaster Belles, are yet to lose this season. They are three points ahead of Durham but have played a game more.