Faye Mullen believes her brace in Sunday’s 9-1 win over Hull City emphasises just how much she is enjoying her football at present.
Sunderland Ladies rounded off a hectic schedule of three games in seven days at the weekend when they brushed aside the Tigers at the Academy of Light.
A brace from duo Mullen and Kiera Ramshaw was added to by a hat-trick from Bridget Galloway, with Charlotte Potts also netting her first for the club since resigning.
“It’s a brilliant start to the league, especially compared to last season as we slipped up at points early on,” Mullen said on the season so far after the advantages of a full pre-season.
“Being able to play more than one formation has set us up well to adapt when playing different teams and the hard work in pre-season has definitely shown in the first five games.”
Hull City had struggled before Sunday’s game, and Mullen said the side saw an opportunity to close the goal gap to the early season pacesetters Huddersfield as well as a chance for her to stake her first team claim.
“As a team on Sunday we knew this was the game where we had to get the goals in and increase our goal difference.
“I think we kept the tempo and quality throughout the game, which we need to keep in upcoming games.
“Personally, having not been involved in the Fylde and Middlesbrough game, I knew this was my opportunity to prove myself and make a contribution to the team win.”
Sunday saw Mullen add to her one goal from last season, and the 21-year-old is keen to take her chances.
“It felt good to contribute to the total score on Sunday, especially with only scoring one last season it felt really good to get two goals on the score sheet.
“It’s not often when playing left back that I’ve had many scoring opportunities, so when I do, I like to make sure I take advantage of this.
“But recently getting further up the field as wing back, I hope this allows me to have more opportunities to get on the score sheet!”
Mullen hasn’t found a settled position in her time with the club, but has still featured regularly with first the development team and then the first team.
“Yeah, for development I’ve played as a centre midfielder and full-back on either side.
“I like to think of myself as a versatile player and be able to do a job no matter where I am on the pitch.
“As we have such a big squad there are so many people fighting for the same position, so being able to play in more than one it gives me a good step to be able to play no matter what position I asked to play in.”
This season has seen her have to adapt once again, as Reay has deployed her as wing-back to start 2019/20, and it’s an area Mullen want to improve in.
“I have much more experience playing as a full-back so I more comfortable, but I do like to join in with attacking play, so I have enjoyed playing as wing-back.
“I just know I need to work on my attacking playing but with scoring at the weekend this has made me much more confident in my ability.”
The Black Cats saw mixed fortunes against Huddersfield last season, scoring a dramatic late winner last September before a narrow one goal defeat at home in April.
“I am expecting a tough game from Huddersfield especially away from home.
“Last season they were an experienced team who took their chances, with us only scoring in the last minute for the win, so on Sunday we will have to be tight defensively and make sure we finish our chances.”
The good mood and current form within the squad is keeping Mullen positive with a long season still ahead and promotion remaining the aim.
“There is a real positive atmosphere with the girls and the club.
“You can see that everyone believes that we can get promoted this year and that’s what everyone is pushing for and won’t accept anything less.
“If we keep training hard and preparing well for each game this positive atmosphere and team morale will only increase.”
Catch Mullen and the lasses in action this Sunday as they head to Huddersfield Town’s Stafflex Arena (HD8 0WA), kick off is 2pm this Sunday (September 15). You can follow the action with live updates on Twitter @SAFCLadies.