Sunderland Ladies get a breather as boss Fairweather plots safety push

Sunderland Ladies manager Carlton Fairweather
Sunderland Ladies manager Carlton Fairweather
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Carlton Fairweather has sent his players on a 10-day break before Sunderland Ladies resume their battle to stay in WSL1.

It will be a fight too, given winless Sunderland go into a month’s interval dangerously close to the drop zone, sitting eighth in the nine-team division.

“The number one objective this season, as it was last year, is to stay in WSL1,” said Fairweather, who is hoping to add one or two signings to the squad before the league resumes.

“It’s a tough league and getting into the top half is hard.

“You always expect the Man Citys, Arsenals and Chelseas at the very top because of the investment they have made and the players they have in their squads.

“It’s a battle for the rest of us for the places below them and to stay up. We have some time off now and we’ll return on June 6 for testing.

“Then we’ll be preparing for Arsenal away [on June 26] when WSL1 starts again.

“It’s a tough return, Arsenal (away), Chelsea (home) and Arsenal (home) but we have nothing to lose in those games.

“We can go out and enjoy the games with no fear and see what we can get from them.”

Fairweather took some encouragement from last Wednesday’s display at Chelsea.

The Lady Black Cats took an early lead, thanks to Steph Roche, only to concede an equaliser straight away before the champions secured a 2-1 win.

Fairweather said: “We defended well, kept it tight.

“Lawsy (Rachael Laws) made some good saves when called upon, but it’s not as though Chelsea carved us open.

“The only disappointing thing was we gave away two headed goals from set-pieces.

“We feel we let ourselves down there, but other than that I thought we were tremendous.

“It was always going to be difficult, but we’ve done well and done well on TV too. We caused them a few problems and created a few opportunities – if we had been a bit more clinical, we might have got a draw.”