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Sunderland AFC Women v Liverpool FC Women: FA WSL 1

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Lasses Roundtable: Is it time for SAFC Women’s young guns to be deployed?

Experience has been the order of the day, but should the youngsters be called into action from the outset today?

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

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Ant Waterson says...

There’s clearly a call to give youth a go. Two of our most talented players in Katy Watson and Grace Ede are only 17, but as the saying goes “if you are good enough, you are old enough”.

When they played RTC-level together, Ede was usually in the ten role supplying the balls for Watson to run on to and score goals. This could easily be used by Sunderland today, bringing them both in and switching Emily Scarr to the wing.

That being said, Scarr has arguably been our best player this season and has dramatically improved into a very good all-round striker.

Although I’d be tempted to throw caution to the wind and play both Ede and Watson, I think because it’s a game away to a decent side on a difficult pitch, Mel will stick to experience. I would like to see Neve Herron given a free role to get forward and help out when she can. We haven’t seen a Neve worldie for a while now, will tomorrow be the day?

Ha’way the Lasses

Crystal Palace Women v Sunderland Ladies - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Henry Browne - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Graeme Field says...

We need to keep the ball better in midfield. The only problem with that though is the pitch is likely to be very heavy. I’d stick with the more experienced players against Blackburn. It’s likely to be more of a scrap and one goal, either way, is going to win it. We’ve got good players in the midfield, but that’s where we’ve struggled at times.

The decision-making of when to keep it and start again, and when to look to hit sides on the break. I’d start Katy Watson at the expense of Nikki Gears, as the only youth over experience change, if you like.

If the pitch is as heavy as expected, the last thing the Blackburn defence will want is our centre halves hitting diagonal balls in behind them, with the pace of Emily Scarr, Tyler Dodds and Watson.

If we keep things tight like we’ve done in our last two away games, we’ll come away with three points. Lasses manager Mel Reay has used her substitutes well so far this season, so if she feels like McInnes or Ede can change things, it leaves her with those options in the second half.

It is going to be a battle, so stick with the experienced players and then make changes to reflect the way the game is going. It’s a massive game, so let’s take the likely difficult conditions into account and play the game in the opposition half and make life difficult for them. Haway the lasses.

Crystal Palace Women v Sunderland Ladies - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Henry Browne - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Rich Speight says...

It’s a difficult one this, and something I’m genuinely divided on. In Grace Ede and Katy Watson, we’ve got two youngsters so highly rated that they’ve been included in the Lionesses development squad, and Libbi McInnes and Jess Brown have also been selected in previous England setups. They’ve got the skills and abilities to unlock defences, but in what might become a slugfest on a wet Blackburn Rovers pitch, perhaps it's better to stick with the experienced heads in midfield.

It is the midfield that must surely be coming under increased scrutiny - defensively we’re pretty solid and Scarr has done more than enough to guarantee herself an automatic starting spot. Yet Emma Kelly has been playing well, Neve Herron is feeling her way into the season, and Dan Brown just goes about her business quietly.

So will it be on the wings where Mel Reay looks to freshen things up, or will it be a case of using the youngsters as “finishers” after the hour mark? When the team news is announced at 1 pm we’ll get some of the answers.

Crystal Palace Women v Sunderland Ladies - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Henry Browne - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

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