Head coach Carlton Fairweather says Sunderland new girl Beverly Leon will feature in the squad when the Lady Black Cats visit Notts County on Sunday.
The 24-year-old American, who joined the club at the start of the month, did sit on the bench in Sunderland’s stunning 4-1 victory at Doncaster Rovers Belles.
She can play wide or can play up front so there is an option to combine her up front with BethCARLTON FAIRWEATHER
But the attacking talent was not quite ready for WSL 1 action having just joined from Italian side Valpolicella, whose season ended two months earlier.
Fairweather has seen the player, who can operate in any of the offensive positions, settle in successfully at the Academy of Light and says she will be in the squad this Sunday at Meadow Lane.
“She will be involved,” Fairweather told the Echo. “She’s settled in well.
“She’s getting there – I think the fact she has come in as late as she has has been hard for her.
“Bev has been playing catch up but the fact the games in this league are so far spaced out then it gives her an opportunity.”
Leon played for Columbia University for four seasons before moving to Italy, where she netted 12 goals in 14 appearances in the 2015-16 season.
“She can play in various positions,” added Fairweather.
“She can play wide or can play up front so there is an option to combine her up front with Beth.
“Bev can hold the ball up well, she’s big and strong, so she is someone who can complement Beth.”
Whether we get to see Leon from the start is debateable, given Fairweather’s side were so impressive at the Keepmoat Stadium in their must-win bottom of the table contest and the head coach may plump for an unchanged XI.
Joint top scorer, Brooke Chaplen (knee), and midfield driving force, Rachel Furness (ankle) will not feature for the remainder of the season.
“Brooke feels a bit better, she’s seen a specialist and doesn’t need an op,” said Fairweather. “We probably won’t see her until next season but she’s on the road to recovery.
“Rachel hopefully won’t need an op but she’ll see a specialist.
“We missed key players at Doncaster but the fact we still went there and got a win bodes well for us.”