Rachel Furness says Sunderland are “positive” ahead of crucial relegation clash with rivals Doncaster Rovers Belles

Rachel Furness
Rachel Furness
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Rachel Furness insists Sunderland are “positive” ahead of their most crucial match of the Women’s Super League season.

The Lady Black Cats entertain relegation rivals Doncaster Rovers Belles at Hetton on Saturday evening.

We will be positive in our approach this week and hopefully we’ll get the result and a performance

Rachel Furness

Sunderland are deep in the mire at the mid-point of the season, all a far cry from 12 months ago when they were title contenders.

Carlton Fairweather’s team are second bottom in WSL1 with four points from eight games.

Rovers prop up the table, pointless but, possibly vitally, have four matches in hand.

Should they win at the Eppleton CW ground they will go above Sunderland on goal difference and they scored a psychological blow at the weekend with a 2-1 Continental Cup victory over the Cats.

However, Furness said far from cowering in a corner, the squad are raring to go.

“It would have been nice to have had a bit of a cup run,” said the midfielder.

“But it gives us the chance to focus on staying in the league.

“I think we turned a corner, performance-wise - we were a hundred times better than we were last week [against Chelsea].

“We will be positive in our approach this week and hopefully we’ll get the result and a performance.

“Confidence is growing and everyone is excited for the game - it’s probably been a long time since we’ve been able to say that.”

Lauren Cresswell netted a late winner for Doncaster at Sheffield after Keira Ramshaw had equalised Leandra Little’s first-half opener for Rovers.

Sunderland had numerous chances but could only convert one.

But Furness hopes the return of Beth Mead could be pivotal after last season’s WSL1 top scorer was on the bench in Sheffield on Sunday nursing a knock to her knee.

“Beth’s a clinical striker,” said Furness. “Give her half a sniff and she’ll usually finish it.

“We created chance after chance and nine times out of 10 Beth would have put them away.

“It will be a massive boost haing her back, she would thrive on those opportunities.”