Mel Reay gives Sunderland transfer update after key defender makes surprise exit

Sunderland boss Mel Reay says she is increasingly hopeful of strengthening her squad in the January transfer window.
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Incomings have become even more crucial to hopes of a successful second half to the season after Charlotte Potts unexpectedly departed the club.

Potts handed in a transfer request and is expected to join Swiss club FF Lugano later this month.

"We're disappointed," Reay said.

Sunderland boss Mel ReaySunderland boss Mel Reay
Sunderland boss Mel Reay
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"Charlotte handed in a transfer request just before Christmas.

"We're disappointed that she wanted to leave before her contract ended, and to be honest there's not an awful lot more to say."

Potts has been an integral player for Sunderland this season after rejoining in the summer, and Reay is looking to find a replacement this month.

"We've had some really good conversations with players this week," she said.

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"I'd like to think that we're close with where we're at with some of the players, though it's not over the line yet.

"Geographically it's tough because we're not that close to where they live, and it's just making sure it's the right move for everyone and that it is sustainable.

"Hopefully we'll have some new faces this month, but the squad we have is adaptable."

Sunderland's geographical status is a challenge for recruitment while the squad remains part time, but Reay is hopeful some experience can bolster the ranks and aid the development of a talented young squad.

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"You sell the vision about what we're trying to achieve and how we can do it, the environment that we have and the facilities, staff we've got," Reay said.

"The history of the club as well, where players have gone on to. If it's right for everyone for us to be a stepping stone is fine, they help us, we help them.

"Sometimes that short-term is fine.

"But we want to be in this league for a while, Rome wasn't built in a day, and it does take time."

Sunderland return to action at London City Lionesses last weekend, who currently sit third in the FA Women's Championship table.

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Reay's squad are eager to get back on the pitch after last week's home game against Crystal Palace was postponed.

"There was a lot of noise when the game was postponed but the pitch passed an inspection on Saturday, and everything was fine," Reay said.

"The temperature dropped overnight and a strip of the pitch from corner flag to corner flag froze.

"It was unplayable.

"The referee called it off at 12, we rang the league who said we had to wait until 1 o'clock.

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"Crystal Palace were already there so it was worth the wait but it was never going to that out realistically, so unfortunately it got called off.

"We were ready to play and it was disappointing, but we've had another week of training now.

"They've got some good players, good experience.

"It's going to be tough but it's who turns up on the day and we've seen that a lot this season.

"I think we've only been beaten once on the road this season so we want to take that into Sunday.

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"We're not happy if we don't take something from any game, so we'll all be geared to bring something back ahead of another long trip away to Lewes the weekend after."

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