It’s Matchday 1 in this year’s Women’s League Cup, a competition that should give fringe players at all clubs the chance for minutes on the pitch before the international break.
Sunderland are away at Sheffield United, and our panel has gathered once more to look into their crystal balls ahead of tonight’s clash...
Charlotte Patterson predicts...
Given Mel’s comments about mixing the side up, we may well see some young and inexperienced players start in the match. Given that Charlotte Potts is likely unavailable and Grace McCatty, Sunderland will be without some of their stronger players. Sheffield will be looking to bounce back from their 2-0 loss to Liverpool at the weekend, but have conceded most of their goals at home and find it difficult to score at home as well.
Given the rotations and a quick turn around from the weekend. Both teams will probably be happy to take a point and play it safe, so I’m predicting Sheffield United 1-1 Sunderland.
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Graeme Field predicts...
This is a difficult game to predict. Both sides are likely to make changes for the match. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the Sunderland players who have not had a lot of minutes so far this season. Manager Mel Reay mentioned in her post-match interview against Durham that she would be giving those players the game time they need. I’d expect to see Iris Achterhof and Eve Blakey starting.
Also Libbi McInnes and Holly Manders playing in midfield. Megan Beer coming in at the back. There are places up for grabs and I’m sure the girls will look to give a selection dilemma to the manager come the next league game.
Prediction - Sheffield United 1-1 Sunderland
Rich Speight predicts... a win for the Lasses!
I’ve predicted the last few results, if not the scorelines, pretty accurately, and I think we could see one of those games where the underdog comes out on top, and where younger players who’ve been itching to get minutes under their belts can prove their worth.
Yes, Sheffield United are one of the top sides in the Women’s Championship and have some seriously good players and a large quad at their disposal, but I think we’ve such a conveyor belt of talent coming through our ranks, that the Lasses will pull off a shock 2-1 away win.
Ant Waterson predicts...
So Sunderland travel to Sheffield United in the Conti Cup, and I expect Mel Reay will ring the changes.
Personally, I really hope we see Eve Blakey get her chance.
I’ve been confused as to why Eve has been overlooked this season, despite her form last season, and this season for her college side.
I expect Neve Herron to partner Megan Beer at the back and the lasses will need to protect those two. I would love to see Neve get the armband if Ramshaw is rested, as it’ll mean to world to her and her family.
It'll be tough for the lasses, but I think we will get something from the game.
1-1 for me. Good luck girls!