Tori Williams is looking to see Sunderland Ladies take another step forward towards the WSL1 Spring Series with a friendly at Sheffield on Sunday.
The Lady Black Cats have played four times in the build-up to the new season – two behind-closed-doors friendlies against Scottish opposition and two FA Cup ties, a 3-2 win over Aston Villa and a 5-1 defeat at Chelsea.
Williams says all the games in the build-up to the start of the inaugural WSL1 Spring Series will be vital as new head coach Melanie Reay “beds in” her team and ideas.
The Lady Black Cats have a new keeper in Anke Preuss and have fielded a back four of skipper Steph Bannon and Abby Holmes either side of central defenders Williams and Hayley Sharp.
Lucy Staniforth has been the playmaker in a midfield alongside Danielle Brown, Maddie Hill and Dominique Bruinenberg, with the Dutch signing given licence to get forward and support the strikers.
“It’s going to be good to get another game,” said Williams.
“We are playing a slightly different formation to what we have played before, so I think we need a match or two to bed in some habits.
“Sheffield will be a good competitive test for us but one where we can put into practice what we’ve been working on.
“It was good to play Chelsea. In some respects, it probably came at the wrong time because we are still at the early stage of our new system.
“But we proved we can match them for a half, just some small lapses cost us .
“We are confident our system will work moving forward. Hopefully the next time we play Chelsea we’ll be a bit better equipped.”
Williams has slotted in smoothly alongside Sharp and says she is pleased by the way the team is shaping up.
“I’ll buy into whatever the manager wants to do – she’s the brains at the top, I’m happy with it,” said the defender, who is starting her third season at the club.