Sunderland Ladies keeper targets clean sheet in first match of new year

Sunderland Ladies battle against Liverpool at Mariners Park earlier this season
Sunderland Ladies battle against Liverpool at Mariners Park earlier this season

Sunderland Ladies are looking forward to kick-starting their Women’s Super League campaign in tomorrow’s first game of 2018.

The Wearsiders return from their Christmas break to take on Birmingham City Ladies at Mariners Park in South Shields (6pm kick-off).

Sunderland goalkeeper Rachael Laws: “We’ve been training well and we’re looking forward to showing what we’ve been doing in training out on the pitch.

“I think it’s going to be a tough game, we’re both in similar positions.We’re not where we want to be in the table, so we want to get three points on the board.

“We have the home advantage and hopefully our hard work will pay off this weekend. We like to focus on ourselves in training.

“We know in some games we haven’t performed and in some we have. We want to start the year with a good performance and we want to keep a clean sheet.

“We pride ourselves on keeping clean sheets, but we haven’t done that lately, so we’re hoping to change that.

“Birmingham are very similar to us. We know what kind of game it’s going to be. If we concentrate on ourselves, we can get the job done.”

The sides have not met yet this season, but both clubs are in the bottom half of the table.

Bridget Galloway will look to continue her good scoring run for the Wearsiders, having netted in each of the last two games, defeats to Arsenal, in the Continental Tyres Cup, and Everton.

Birmingham’s Emily Westwood said: “We broke up just before Christmas and had a little break but we got back together on the 28th and now we’re raring to get back into it. Our preparation has been good.

“Sunderland are in and around us at the moment, if we beat them we can overtake them.

“We have to be on the front foot and really go for it.

“We’ve identified that our next three games are really important. It will be hard but we think we can put some points on the board from those matches.

“They’re a good team with the likes of Lucy Staniforth who is so influential and controls their midfield.

“But we want to use our strengths to exploit them.

“We have played well but we haven’t got the results we deserved. We need to turn those performances into results now.”

Sunderland and Birmingham played out a tight 0-0 draw in the 2017 Spring Series.

But it was a different game altogether in their most recent league meeting, in November 2016, when the Blues won 7-1 on the final day of the FA WSL campaign.

To buy tickets to an FA Women’s Super League game, visit www.fawsl.com/tickets