Sunderland Ladies are prepared for a big Women’s FA Cup tie against FA Women’s Super League side Birmingham City.
The Lasses return home to Eppleton Colliery Welfare on Sunday for the first time since their 2-0 FAWNL Cup win against Burnley in September. Kick-off is set at 2pm for the fifth round tie.
The Black Cats head into the game with a 20-match unbeaten run behind them, however face an uphill battle to extend it as they take on top flight opposition.
The clash against Birmingham starts a busy seven days for Melanie Reay’s squad, who also welcome Middlesbrough and Southampton to Eppleton CW in League and League Cup action respectively.
Reay will have Faye Mullen and Katie Barker back in contention after both were doubts for last week’s postponed trip to Hull City. Allison Cowling will also return to the squad for the first time since September after a broken wrist sustained at Huddersfield Town.
The hosts will be without leading cup scorer Jessica Brown though. The versatile youngster heads to the USA with England under-17s on Saturday for two friendlies The Stars and Stripes.
Birmingham head to the North-East for the first time since January 2018, where Sunderland ran out 3-0 winners with Dominique Bruinenberg, Hayley Sharp and Abbey Joice getting the goals, but a lot has changed in the 25 months since that fixture.
Lucy Staniforth and Emma Kelly return to Sunderland, the former was the Black Cats’ captain on that January night two years ago. Kelly was part of the side that won the 2014 FAWSL 2 title.
Marta Tejedor’s team faced off against WSL title challenges Chelsea on Wednesday in the capital, falling to a 2-0 defeat. The Blues sit a point off bottom in 10th but do have a game in hand on the sides below.
Entering the FA Cup in the fourth round, they picked up a 3-0 win against second tier Sheffield United to set up Sunday’s fixture.
It’s sure to be an enthralling encounter at Eppleton CW on Sunday, tickets are priced at £3 for adults, £1 for concessions and £1.50 for SAFC Season Card holders.
If you can’t make it to Hetton-le-Hole, you still won’t miss a kick as we will have live updates of the match on Twitter @SAFCLadies.