Mel Reay gives Sunderland transfer update, opens up on recent form and looks ahead to Lewes challenge

Mel Reay says work is ongoing to strengthen her Sunderland squad - with one new arrival imminent.
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It has been a mixed week on the recruitment front, however, with two potential loan deals falling through.

The need for new additions was underlined last week when Charlotte Potts, one of the most experienced players in the squad, left to pursue a new opportunity in the Swiss Super League.

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Sunderland still have a week before the transfer window shuts in which to recruit.

Sunderland boss Mel ReaySunderland boss Mel Reay
Sunderland boss Mel Reay

"There should be an announcement on one deal that we've concluded before the game on Sunday," Reay told The Echo.

"There were a couple of loan deals that I was hoping to get done that have fallen short, so we're still working hard to get some bodies in and we've still got a week to get some over the line.

"I've said it before it's very difficult when you're part time to recruit players from further afield, but it is what it is.

"We're still hopeful."

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Sunderland face Lewes on Sunday eager to get back to winning ways after a 3-1 defeat to London City Lionesses last weekend.

The Black Cats had faced a disjointed schedule even before the winter break, which has left them without a league win since late October.

But Reay was buoyed by the response of her side in the second half in the capital, and insists it is important to keep the campaign in perspective.

As it stands Sunderland are still well on track to meet their ultimate objective of stabilising in the second tier with a young squad this season.

"We were just slow out of the blocks," Reay said.

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"It was always going to be difficult after five weeks without a game - I think we were just caught cold.

"It was a really slow first half but we got better as the game went on and that's the positive we take from it.

"We've had a really good week of reflection and we'll take that into Sunday.

"London City are full time so they probably had a very different training schedule over the break.

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"We've competed over 90 minutes, conceded poor goals which we weren't happy with, so we're just eager to get back out there on Sunday.

"The players are giving their all and that's all you can ask.

"We went back to looking at our goals for the season, as a team and individually, and we are on track. It's important not to get too low with the lows, and too highs

"We just want to pick up some points to get closer and closer to the end goal."Sunderland drew 1-1 with Lewes in the reverse fixture at the Stadium of Light, and Reay is expecting another close contest this time out.

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"I thought they were decent when we played them," Reay said.

"We had the majority of the ball and some good chances, but it was a bit of a stalemate and we scored late with an own goal.

"I think it'll be close, they'll want a reaction after a disappointing defeat to Charlton, so it'll be two teams trying to turn their season around with a win."

Reay will be selecting from the same squad, with Daisy Burt again absent after testing positive for COVID-19.

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