Women’s Football: Demi Stokes wary of Lincoln challenge

Sunderland Women's football team.
Sunderland Women's football team.
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SUNDERLAND Women’s striker Demi Stokes is targeting success against big guns Lincoln this weekend.

The Imps have splashed the cash as they gear up for the forthcoming Super League campaign, bringing England stars Sue Smith, Jess Clarke and Sophie Bradley into their ranks.

However, Stokes believes the Wearsiders have what it takes to progress when the two sides meet at Eppleton CW in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday (2pm).

They won through to the fifth round last Sunday with a penalty shoot-out victory away to Derby after a goalless 120 minutes.

She said: “We know Lincoln are a good side, and we know they have spent money on players after getting into the Super League, but we won’t be worrying about that.

“We know what we are capable of, and if we play to the best of our ability we can give anyone a game.”

The Wearsiders were losing finalists against Arsenal Ladies two years ago, and Stokes says that has made them all the more hungry to go one better this term.

“It was great to get to the final, and we all really enjoyed the experience if not the result,” she said.

“It would be great to go all the way again and this time go and win it, but first we have to focus on getting the win against Lincoln, and I’m sure every one in the squad will be up for the game.”

The Lincoln squad contains a good mix of youth and experience, and includes former Lady Black Cats midfielder Lucy Staniforth in their ranks.

But Sunderland aren’t without stars of their own, including a number of England U19 players such as Stokes herself, and stars like midfielder Kelly McDougall and striker Sophie Williams.

And Stokes says they are more than capable of causing the big-spending visitors a problem or two.

“We have been playing quite well,” she said. “We are top of the league at the minute and we have been working hard to make sure we keep up our good form.

“Obviously, we will look at things in training and talk before the game about how to compete with Lincoln, but we won’t be worrying too much about them.

“It’s about what we do, and how well we play. If we can take care of that then we’ve got a really good chance of getting the right result.”