Sunderland boss Carlton Fairweather happy to have Hilde Olsen back

Hilde Olsen
Hilde Olsen
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Carlton Fairweather said it was a “pleasure” to have Hilde Olsen back with Sunderland Ladies.

The Lady Black Cats this week announced the return of the goalkeeper following the departure of long-serving stopper Rachael Laws to neighbours Durham.

Olsen left Wearside following the end of the 2016 Women’s Super League 1 season and ahead of the club’s decision to take the club into part-time mode.

But the former Norwegian U23 international has re-joined the club for a second spell, much to the delight of their head coach.

“It is a pleasure to have Hilde back here at Sunderland,” said Fairweather, who is assembling a squad for the inaugural WSL1 Spring Series which gets under way in April.

“She is a very good asset to our side both as a goalkeeper and a positive influence around the team.”

Olsen originally joined the Lady Black Cats back in July 2015 following an injury to number one keeper and vice-captain Laws.

And the new keeper played her part in Sunderland’s superb run which made them title contenders in their debut assault at the WSL 1 title.

She made an instant impact, making two great saves from England striker Ellen White to pave the way for a 2-1 win over Notts County.

Such was her form, Laws had to bide her time before regaining the gloves before the end of the season.

Laws was the first choice goalie in the 2016 programme though the Norwegian still made eight appearances.

“I’m happy to be back,” Olsen said in an interview with the club’s website.

“The people and place make me feel like this is my second home.

“I’ve made some close friends here and the facilities and coaches can help me becoming a better footballer.

“As a team we’ll work hard together and for each other. I’ll do my best to have an impact in the games and training so that everyone can get better and reach their potential.”

Sunderland face a great deal of work to be ready for the mini-season which starts at Birmingham on April 23.

The side’s first home game is seven days later against Arsenal which will mean a return for former star striker Beth Mead.

Mead has been one of Sunderland’s high-profile departures following the club’s move to their part-time model, Brooke Chaplen, Rachel Furness (both to Reading) and now Laws being the latest.

But Olsen says it’s not all doom and gloom at the Academy of Light.

“I don’t think anyone expects a lot from us this Spring,” added the 24-year-old.

“But I really do believe in the players we have, so I think we might surprise people.”