Sunderland Ladies-Liverpool: WSL1 point to prove for Black Cats

Rachael Laws in action for Sunderland Ladies
Rachael Laws in action for Sunderland Ladies

Sunderland will be highly-motivated to produce the goods against Liverpool tomorrow evening.

The Lady Black Cats have made an excellent start to the Women’s Super League season, lying third after the first three weekends of the new winter campaign.

We’re delighted to be third in the league and think we deserve more credit than what people are giving us

MELANIE REAY

They will host third-bottom Liverpool at the new Mariners Park home, in South Shields (kick-off 6pm).

While it’s early days, head coach Melanie Reay has been thrilled with the way her side has performed.

Chelsea, one of Europe’s best teams, ran away with the points at Mariners Park in Sunderland’s only previous home fixture, but away from home. Reay’s team have been flawless.

The Lady Black Cats have won both away days, keeping clean sheets in each match, leaving the boss a bit frustrated that they are “not getting the credit” they deserve.

A result against Liverpool, while a tough ask, would surely do that.

“We’re very much looking forward to the game,” said Reay. “It’s a chance for us to continue our good form and collect more points.

“We’re delighted to be third in the league and think we deserve more credit than what people are giving us.

“We have worked hard on and off the field to ensure we are hard to beat and the group have a good togetherness and focus.”

Sunderland have had an excellent 2017, having finished fifth in the WSL1 Spring Series, ending the competition above FA Cup finalists Birmingham and other full-time outfits.

The defensive solidity, fashioned during that Spring run, has continued in the winter programme.

Reay must make a change to her successful formation at the back with keeper Anke Preuss injured, meaning a first WSL1 start of 2017 for Rachael Laws.

Forward Steph Roche (broken leg) is ruled out as is comeback girl, Rachel Pitman. But the full-back is closing in on her first WSL 1 game since 2016 after recovering from knee surgery.

“Rachel is back in full contact training but is not ready to play yet.”

Mariners Park is on Shaftesbury Avenue in South Shields and the post code is NE34 9PH. Cash turnstiles are open on the night.