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Ladies captain previews cup clash

by Ashley Houghton

Bannon relishing Liverpool tie.

Sunderland WFC captain Steph Bannon says the Lady Black Cats are excited ahead of this weekend’s Women’s FA Cup quarter-final tie with Liverpool.

Mick Mulhern’s side National Premier League leaders entertain the Reds who have invested heavily in their squad ahead of the upcoming Women’s Super League campaign.

We’ll have to cover a lot of ground and match them all over the pitch but if we win our individual battles we stand a chance

- Steph Bannon

And though the Merseyside outfit ply their trade a division above Sunderland, Bannon feels her side should not be written off as they look to extend their unbeaten run in the 2012-13 season.

“It’s an exciting time for the girls as we can test ourselves against a Super League side and see where we are at in comparison,” she explained.

“They’ve got a side full of internationals but we’ve also got a very strong squad so it’s going to be a good game.

“We’ll have to cover a lot of ground and match them all over the pitch, but if we win our individual battles we stand a chance.”

Sunderland will be depleted for the game with a number of players ruled out through injury.

However, Bannon feels the Lady Black Cats have strength in depth and that there are able replacements in hand.

“When people have come in from the reserves they’ve been fantastic and I’m sure that will continue between now and the end of the season,” she said.

“In that time period we’ll be calling on everybody to do their bit so it’s important we stick together and work hard as a unit.”

The ladies are yet to lose in the 2012-13 season and top the National Premier League with a lead of five points - and Bannon feels the work ethic of the group is as much a contributing factor to the group as the quality.

“We always work hard in training and I think the good team morale we have helps as well.

“I think there’s more to it than being better than our opponents, we always stick to the task and never know when we are beaten.

“We’ve scored late against Barnet, Leeds and Manchester City which shows our desire to win and at worst avoid defeat.”

The match with Liverpool takes place on Sunday at the Academy of Light.

The game will be played behind closed doors due to safety reasons, but fans can follow live updates on Twitter via @SAFCOfficial and @SunderlandWFC.