GEMMA WILSON says Sunderland need to get back to the “bread and butter” this weekend after their controversial FA Cup exit.
The Black Cats women crashed out at the quarter-final stage of the cup last Sunday afternoon after Super League Liverpool progressed at the Academy of Light with a late winner courtesy of a handball.
Mick Mulhern’s side return to cup action this Sunday when they face Leeds United in a rearranged League Cup semi-final at Eppleton CW.
And long-serving defender Wilson says the League Cup, together with Sunderland’s hopes of being granted a spot in next year’s Super League, have always been the Wearsiders’ priorities this season.
“The FA Cup for us was a bonus,” said the 25-year-old.
“We wanted to see how far we could get and test ourselves against the best teams in the country so we knew what we’ll be like next year if we are successful in our bid (for the Super League)
“But our bread and butter is the League Cup and the Premier League.
“We’re still on course for that, we’re still unbeaten in 19 months in the league.
“So we have to take the positives from last weekend and re-focus because Sunday is a massive game against Leeds in the semi-final.”
Sunderland will take heart from their performance against big-spending Liverpool though after rocking the Merseysiders during the second half.
Wilson believes there was inevitably a difference in fitness levels, with Liverpool having the resources to train on a more regular basis.
But the centre-half says that there was a minimal gulf in quality, with Sunderland’s young squad continuing the club’s tradition of breeding England internationals.
“We’ve got young internationals in our squad and have got the pedigree with the likes of Jordan Nobbs and Jill Scott,” added Wilson.
“They’ve gone on to do amazing things since they’ve left the club so we know how to breed good young players here.
“To be able to play against internationals like (Liverpool pair) Fara Williams and Tash Dowie, plus the foreign internationals is a great test.
“By playing against those players we can only get better.
“In terms of ability, I don’t think there’s a gulf at all.
“We’re a very talented squad and we will fight for each other until the final whistle.
“In terms of fitness, we do as much as we can and when a team can train virtually every day of the week, they’re bound to be a little bit sharper than you.
“But our determination more than made up for that.”