Sunderland Ladies hope a return to the scene of one of their greatest triumphs can bury the pain of one of the most humiliating days in their history.
The Lady Black Cats travel to Liverpool tomorrow for a big WSL1 showdown (kick-off 5.30pm).
Training has been high intense and good quality, we’re all raring to go againRACHEL FURNESS
It comes just six days after Sunderland were crushed 7-0 at Arsenal in the semi-final of the SSE FA Women’s Cup.
But the match at the Select Security Stadium in Widnes brings back happy memories for Carlton Fairweather’s team.
Exactly 13 months ago, Sunderland, then WSL1 new girls, visited the defending champions for the opening game of the season.
The Reds began as overwhelming favourites, but the Lady Black Cats tore up the script, winning 2-1 thanks to goals by Beth Mead and Brooke Chaplen.
It launched Sunderland’s season in style, with Fairweather’s side leading the division for a long stretch before finishing fourth.
And midfielder Rachel Furness hopes that success can prove a good omen to a team needing a big comeback from Sunday’s FA Cup torture.
“Going there brings back happy memories,” she said. “We’ll go into the weekend positive.
“We’ve had a good week’s training – all the girls have reacted well.
“Training has been high intense and good quality – we’re all raring to go again.
“What’s happened’s happened, we can’t brush it under the carpet, we have to learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“We’ve watched it again, learned from it and now our focus is on Liverpool.
“We’re confident in our ability and we’ll pull together.”
Sunderland will be meeting a new-look Liverpool tomorrow.
The Reds have had a big clear-out of players after finishing seventh last season and have a new manager.
They began WSL1 with a home win over Birmingham, but whether the squad has fully gelled yet must be open to question.
“It’s probably hard to make a judgement on them yet,” said Furness. “There have been a lot of changes and they have only played one match.
“It’s a totally different Liverpool team to the one we played, but we must view them as a hard-working and better side.
“You’d like to hope they have not fully gelled, but we know we must up our game tomorrow and that’s what we’ll be looking to do.”