Sunderland boss looks for signings to strengthen defensive options

Carlton Fairweather hopes Sunderland Ladies can go into the transfer market to strengthen his squad.

Friday, 20th May 2016, 10:00 am
Carlton Fairweather.

The Lady Black Cats have been hit by injuries with new signing Kylla Sjoman and fellow defender Rachel Pitman on the long-term absentee list following knee surgery.

With ex-Canada left-back Sjoman having been a replacement for the retired Vicky Greenwell and Pitman also an addition to the defensive ranks, Sunderland are now short of options at the back.

Fairweather did some business in the close-season, signing Sjoman and Pitman, plus midfielders Krystle Johnson and Lucy Staniforth, but they are short on numbers, certainly compared to their WSL1 rivals.

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And Fairweather, whose side were beaten 4-0 in midweek by Liverpool, is keen to get some new talent in.

“Hopefully there will be,” said the head coach.

“Given the injuries we’ve had, hopefully we’ll be in a position to make one or two new signings.”

The club need to act to bolster the squad and not only in the defensive positions – Sunderland are perilously close to the WSL1 drop zone.

Almost a third of the way through the programme, they are three points above bottom club Doncaster.

Given their next three fixtures are Chelsea (A), Arsenal (A) and Chelsea (H), the prospects to pull away from danger do not promising.

Fairweather could also do with having greater options on the bench, players who can provide an impact, though he says he is happy with his subs, having brought on the vastly-experienced Kelly McDougall, plus young talents Maddy Hill and Abbey Joice against the Reds.

“Maddie came on and did well and Kelly Mac moved the ball around nicely,” he said. “We have one or two we can put on to try to change the game.”

Fairweather must also prepare his troops for Wednesday’s visit to Chelsea.

“It’s going to be hard, they are the defending champions,” he said.

“We’ll have to make sure we work hard in training, are prepared and put in a good performance and hopefully we can get something from the game.

“Wednesday night was a bit of everything in one game, clinical finishing, bad luck and very good keeping by Siobhan Chamberlain.

“The fact we are creating chances is great, but we need to be finishing them off.