Sheffield Vs. Sunderland- Match Preview
Lady Black Cats travel to Sheffield in the Continental Cup
Sunderland travel to Sheffield on Thursday knowing that a win could seal their place in the quarter-finals of the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup if other results go their way.
The Lady Black Cats have taken five points from a possible six so far and victory over Sheffield would be enough to clinch a top two spot if Aston Villa fail to beat Liverpool on Wednesday.
Sunderland come into the game off the back of a 3-0 loss at Arsenal and they currently find themselves in sixth place in FA WSL 1 after five matches.
In the Continental Tyres Cup, however, they have a penalty shootout victory over Durham followed by a win against Aston Villa to leave them in good shape midway through the pool stages.
Meanwhile, Sheffield were also beaten at the weekend, losing 1-0 away to Brighton, and having played three games already in the Cup, know that only a win will keep their chances of making the knockout stages alive.
So far they have lost to Liverpool, beaten Durham and then earned a point from a penalty shootout defeat to Villa.
This will be a step into the unknown for the two sides with this their first competitive meeting since Sheffield were promoted for the 2016 FA WSL season.
ONE TO WATCH – Melissa Johnson (Sheffield)
Melissa Johnson only arrived at Sheffield this summer from Derby but she has made an immediate impact with five goals already in the campaign. She has been particularly effective in the Continental Tyres Cup, scoring four goals in her last two games including a hat-trick against Durham.
If Sheffield are to beat their opposition a division above, they will likely need Johnson to extend that scoring run.
WHAT THEY SAID
Sheffield keeper Danielle Gibbons said:
“I definitely think that if we play to our strengths then we’ve got a good chance of winning.
“They’re coming to us, we know our home pitch we’ve played well there this season, so we’re confident we can turn this game around and get a win.”
Sunderland captain Lucy Staniforth said:
“We are just going to have to be defensively stronger.
“We know that Sheffield have had a couple of decent results, so obviously we need to keep switched on but we will hope to continue our good cup form and score some goals as well.
“I imagine we will be doing some work to tidy up a few bits from the game against Arsenal, such as switching on the second phase, especially when then ball lands in our area, and making sure we get our players to be the first to get contact on the ball.
“Hopefully, we will put on a bit of a better attacking performance.”