Roker Report: First up is our standard opening question. How long have you been following Birmingham City Women and what first brought you in?
Craig Hadley: I started following the team in the run-up to the 2012 FA Cup Final. I got into women’s football as a student writer covering their university teams and then went in search for my nearest team back home and that turned out to be Birmingham City.
RR: The blues are currently at the foot of the WSL but pulled off a shock win against Arsenal the other week. How’s the season going overall and can your team escape the drop?
CH: It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster but you could say that about the last four years now. Given the level of investment and number of new players I think we are where we were expected to be. Fans all expected a relegation battle and that’s what we have right now.
It’s touch and go if this will the season that the Blues finally drop out but I’m hoping that won’t be the case.
RR: What’s happened over the transfer window? Should we expect new faces on display on Sunday?
CH: No new signings this month which is disappointing yet expected. We’ve been expected to work miracles for a number of years now and keep stepping up but the margin is shrinking year on year.
RR: We always like to look out for the emerging talents in the game. Who have been your standout performers this season?
CH: Jade Pennock, Jamie Finn, and Rebecca Holloway. Jade is playing her first season in the WSL and has two goals to her name after last weekend. She’s someone who doesn’t get many chances but if she’s in the right place will put it away. Jamie is also playing in the WSL for the first time, having made the move from Ireland to play. She’s tenacious and is one for the future.
Finally, Becks is more established at Blues but in the past 18 months or so has grown tremendously in confidence and offers a lot out wide and from set-pieces with her technique.
RR: What are your ambitions for the FA cup and what should Sunderland fans expect at St Andrew's?
CH: As former winners and two-time finalists I’d love to say another final but I think sadly those days are gone. I just want to see some younger players given a chance to see if they can make it in the league and see competitive games and some goals.
As for St Andrew’s it’s a fairly large ground, showing its age a bit but the pitch is of good quality and offers the chance for more expansive football.
RR: Finally, how do you see this game going? do you have a prediction for today’s score line?
CH: I would see Blues edging it but I don’t think it’s going to be plain-sailing. I could see a 2-1 scoreline.