Sunderland Ladies have suffered a further hammer blow with the departure of another high-profile star.
But the departure of England keeper Rachael Laws while dreadful news for the Lady Black Cats, spells good news for Durham.
The Sunderland vice-captain has moved the dozen miles along the A690 to join the ambitious WSL2 side.
Laws will come straight into the Wildcats squad given the New Ferens Park side have already begun the WSL Spring Series with a 1-0 win over Millwall.
The 26-year-old has followed star striker Beth Mead, midfield dynamo Rachel Furness and gifted forward Brooke Chaplen out of the exit door at Sunderland.
Head coach Carlton Fairweather faces a massive task ahead of the start of theWSL1 Spring Series in April, given the heart of his squad has been ripped out.
The club last month announced their plans for the squad to operate on a part-time basis.
Sunderland had played the last two seasons in the Women’s Super League with a squad of full-time professional combined with part-time players.
Laws had been part of the spine of the Lady Black Cats side, spending over a decade at the club.
“I’m really excited to be here,” said the England international, from Hebburn.
“I’ve had a few conversations with [manager] Lee Sanders and it’s a club going in the right direction and I’m really excited to be a part of that.
“I can’t wait to start with a new club, Obviously it is a bit strange for over 10 years but it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.
“Durham are a club going in the right direction and I’m looking forward to helping them keep going in that direction.”
She joins the Wildcats as Helen Alderson, her former Sunderland team-mate, prepares to undertake charity work in Africa for a three-month period.
Manager Sanders said: “We’re really happy to have signed Rachael for the Spring Series. She’s a great keeper with excellent experience and knows a lot of the team already as she’s a local girl so it’ll be an easy transition for her.”
He added: “When we found out Helen Alderson was going away for three months we had to act fairly quickly because it’s not long before she leaves.
“Megan Borthwick has been fantastic when she played down at Millwall last season and in friendlies, but we need two senior goalkeepers as its the sensible thing to do.
“This means we again have the option of two great goalkeepers for the Spring Series – one up and coming and one more experienced.
“When the opportunity came up to sign Rachael for the Spring Series we would have been negligent if we didn’t take it.
“We’re looking forward to her getting involved with the squad and working with Mark Bell (Goalkeeping Coach) and being in contention for the FA Cup tie on Sunday.”