It’s Matchday 2 and, as seems to be the way in any League Cup match this season, Sunderland are on the road again - this time to Blackburn Rovers in the Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup,
With both teams looking to make up ground on the leaders Liverpool in Group A, Our panel have all been mulling over the permutations ahead of the game...
Katie Hume predicts... a nice two-goal victory!
I’m expecting a rotated squad to take their chances again, I’d take a 2-0 win with Emily Scarr and Holy Manders getting on the score sheet.
Ant Waterson predicts... youngsters to take their chances!
Another Conti Cup game and another chance for Mel to give the fringe players a run-out.
I’m expecting Moan to start but I would keep the back four the same as Sundays, a clean sheet will breed huge confidence.
As for the midfield, I’m really hoping Grace Ede starts. Ede looked impressive in her cameo at Sheff Utd and maybe putting her in with an experienced head such as Ramshaw will do her the world of good.
I also hope Manders gets a good run out as well as she has been impressive every time I’ve seen her this season. Blakey will hopefully get a chance up top as well maybe alongside Farrugia who impressed on Sunday.
We've seen Blackburn this season and they are a strong and physical team. I’m confident if we play our game right we will win. I’m going for two-nil Sunderland with Potts and Farrugia scoring. Ha’way the lasses.
Graeme Field predicts... a tight encounter!
Who doesn’t love a game under floodlights? It should be another opportunity to give players game time who have played their part this season but haven’t had as much action as they would possibly have liked. I’d expect Claudia Moan to start in goal, after missing out in the last couple of games.
If Megan Beer is available, she would surely start and I’d love to see Eve Blakey up front. They would likely not start as a two, there would be one wide and one leading the line. Are we about to see the first start for Grace Ede, the latest talented youngster to come through the Sunderland Regional Talent Club?
She will likely enter the fray at some point, even if not from kick-off. Mel Reay has molded the lasses into a compact unit that are incredibly difficult to beat. As both sides will make changes, it’s going to be difficult to predict, but I hope they will be solid as usual. I fancy Keira to notch in a 1-0 win.
Rich Speight predicts... a convincing victory!
I’m confident going into this one, our home win against this Blackburn side earlier this season coupled with the fact that they were sloppy on Sunday during their narrow, last-minute win over lowly Coventry United, tells me that our solidity and flare will come to the fore.
I expect Maria Farrugia to be used a bit higher up the pitch tonight, but with the squad being rotated - especially given there’s a tough league fixture in only a few days time against London City Lionesses - means that the precise make-up of the side is hard to predict.
Whatever line-up Mel Reay and Steff Libbey decide to put out tonight, I think we’ll come out on top and, as it’s been a while since we scored a hat-full, I’m going all in for a 3-0 win.