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Sunderland Ladies v Birmingham City Women: Barclays FA Women’s Championship

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Lasses Roundtable: How vital is a win for Sunderland against Charlton on Sunday?

Sunderland Women play their first Women’s Championship match of the season at Eppleton on Sunday. After 3 games, no wins and only 1 goal... so how vital is this match for the Lasses?

Photo by Ashley Allen - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

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Graeme Field says...

Sunderland manager Mel Reay has a points target and breaks it down into blocks of games. We’ve got one point from three games so far, difficult games admittedly, but I’d imagine this is a game that she will be looking to take three points from. Charlton are a professional side, which gives them an advantage over us, as we are part time, however, we’ve got a manager who is the best in the league and will have the squad well prepared and will get everything out of them.

There is an early kick off of 11.30am on Sunday and hopefully we’ll be on the front foot from the first whistle.

I hope Neve Herron is fit to start, as she brings extra quality and energy to the team. I’d also find a place for young midfielder Libbi McInnes, who performed well when she came on as a substitute against Bristol City.

Also, I think Tyler Dodds will be more effective playing on the right wing. Her pace and skill will stretch Charlton and she can whip the ball in quickly on her stronger flank.

We have a tough run of games after Charlton, so a win is important to take into that period. So for me, it’s important we take three points, but I wouldn’t be too unhappy with a point and a good performance. Especially if we were to create more chances than we have done in recent games.

Come on Sunderland - we can do this!

Sunderland Ladies v Liverpool Women- FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup
Neve Herron will be back in contention
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Rich Speight says...

Sunday against Charlton is not a must-win game for the Lasses, those will come against the other part time teams in the league, Blackburn, Coventry, Lewes, and Sheffield United. But it certainly is a very winnable game and we do need to take it to Charlton.

For a start, we need to entertain and engage the home crowd, and I’d expect a much more attacking lineup and overall game plan than the one employed at Bristol City last weekend. An increase in chance creation with more bodies further up the field will be crucial and, for me, the reintroduction of Abbey Joice as the player to link midfield and attack would be one way to achieve this goal.

We have a solid, experienced defence. We have quality in the middle of the park. But getting the ball into dangerous areas is the biggest challenge we face but if we crack it, we’ll give any side in this division a hell of a game.

Sunderland v Sheffield United: FA Women’s Championship
Abbey Joice is an attacking threat
Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Amelia Laybourn says...

I think perhaps before jumping to any conclusion in response to this question – it’s important to take a moment to read the key word. That, for me, is ‘three’. We are a mere three games into this year’s campaign, with only 270 minutes of league action under the lasses’ belts so far.

As many football fans know, it is not the first few, or even dozen games that decide a team’s fate – one of which I am sure will be an extremely positive one for the ladies. So, I believe calling Sunday a ‘must win’, is far too extreme at these early stages.

Despite this, it is hard to deny Charlton’s stature. They are a well-developed professional team who will be tricky competition. However, in spite of this that – the Lasses will, I’m sure, have a crowd able to support and encourage throughout.

The home advantage is one that I hope will play in our favour – allowing the ladies to capitalise on the support and take in the encouraging words of those who take the trip to Eppleton this weekend.

When thinking about the team in comparison – it is hard to look past the experience we hold- especially on the backline, allowing us to uphold a solid wall of defence- even against teams with particular attacking strength – like Charlton.

I hope and do ultimately believe we can take the 3 points this weekend and, If nothing else, it will be incredibly good preparation for the upcoming (and arguably tougher) fixtures.

But as I mentioned earlier – I do not believe three games in is the time to dwell and question… the Lasses are in good hands – and I am positive will take this in their stride, and bounce back tenfold.

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