Sunderland Ladies determined to finish season on high with home double

Carlton Fairweather hopes to see Sunderland sign off the women's season in style.

Friday, 28th October 2016, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 8:52 am
Sunderland boss Carlton Fairweather with two of his 2016 signings, Lucy Staniforth and Kylla Sjoman, but injury has ruled out Sjoman for much of the season

The eighth-placed Lady Black Cats take on Notts County tomorrow night in their penultimate fixture at Eppleton CW (kick-off 6.30pm).

Given they spent the majority of their WSL1 debut season challenging for the title, 2016 has been a disappointing one.

But Fairweather’s side have secured their place for next year and they still have a chance to climb above Reading and finish in seventh, though Notts County look safely positioned in sixth, six points above the Cats.

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“It’s not been the season we would have liked,” said Fairweather. “But, at the end of the day, we’ve made sure we’ve stayed up and we’ll be competing next year in the top division again.

“Our long-term injuries haven’t helped – we lost Rachel Pitman and Kylla Sjoman right at the start of the season.

“But we have a chance to move up a place in the league if we can get results against Notts County and Birmingham on November 6.

“That’s got to be our target – we want to finish as high as we possibly can, but we also want to finish the season well in front of our fans.

“Given the way the fixtures have fallen it has been over three months since we played at Hetton. It’s crazy, but at least we have two home games to enjoy – they are both winnable matches and hopefully we can get the results.”

Sunderland threw away the lead at Meadow Lane last month as County fought back to win 2-1.

The Lady Pies are not short of talent in their squad, but Fairweather hopes his side can make amends for that defeat.

“We gave them the goals from a corner and throw-in,” said the head coach. “Even at 2-1 down, we were still creating, but we could not take our opportunities.

“Notts County are a good side but nothing to be frightened about, so it’s a game we’ll be targeting.”

Midfielder Rachel Furness (ankle) and forward Brooke Chaplen are both still out.