Sunderland Ladies could not have picked a tougher fixture to return to in the Women’s Super League.
The Lady Black Cats are in WSL1 action this Saturday at Arsenal Ladies, who crushed them 7-0 in a FA Cup semi-final humbling.
But the first game back might not be that bad a time to play them.
The league has been on a month’s break when the star-studded Gunners squad have been all over Europe on international duty, while they have managed only five goals in as many games in WSL.
Sunderland star striker Beth Mead, one of the few players to come out of the FA Cup beating with credit, says the away side must be “positive” at Borehamwood.
In their last outing, Carlton Fairweather’s side led 1-0 at Chelsea, only to lose 2-1 in a close contest with the reigning champions.
“Arsenal are probably the hardest teams you could face,” said the 21-year-old.
“But we have to be positive , go into the game with a good attitude and show that we can match them.
“We’ve got to play with confidence, enjoy the challenge, take the game to them rather than them bringing it to us.
“We played well in the last game at Chelsea so we need to take that momentum into the next game and hopefully start performing.”
Mead missed out on international action during the mid-season break – finishing her course at Sunderland University had to take precedence, having been picked for England U23 duties at the Nordic Cup.
“It’s been hard (juggling) football and studies,” she said.
“It’s scuppered one of my chances to go away with England.
“I had to get an extension on my dissertation to complete it so I was unable to go away with them.
“It’s frustrating, but if anything happened with my football, I need something to fall back on.
“At this moment in time my education was important to me.”
Mead hopes now her Uni pressures are out the way she can revel again on the football field.
The 2015 WSL’s leading scorer is currently not even the top scorer at Sunderland, that honour belonging to Brooke Chaplen on five, two in front of Mead.
“Considering I scored a few last season I’d like more goals,” she said.
“I am probably on a drought at the moment so I’d like to bring more goals to the team.
“I’ll also try to get more people on the scoresheet, try to help the team out and collect some points.”