Sun­der­land at Sh­effield

The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY -

the first at­tempt, Sh­effield are also aim­ing to main­tain an im­pres­sive upward tra­jec­tory.

Six league ti­tles in eight sea­sons un­der the guid­ance of former head coach He­len Mitchell, who is now gen­eral man­ager, brought them to their cur­rent po­si­tion.

Mul­h­ern added: “The club made great strides un­der He­len and we have now em­barked on a three-year plan to, hope­fully, take us up to WSL1.

“It’s go­ing to be a tough task be­cause we’re the WSL2 new girls on the block.

“Ev­ery­one else in the league has got two years of pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind them – even longer in the case of Ev­er­ton and Bris­tol City.

“We won’t be [full-time] pro­fes­sional.

“The girls will be train­ing a cou­ple of nights a week and we’ll have to see how that works, but I’m con­fi­dent we’ll give a good ac­count of our­selves in the league and we’ll def­i­nitely be com­pet­i­tive.

“We’ve set our­selves no tar­gets – at least not pub­licly – but what I’ll be look­ing for is a solid first sea­son to es­tab­lish our­selves as a WSL club.”

Mul­h­ern’s team will kick off the league cam­paign with a home game against Durham on Wed­nes­day, March 23.

Mean­while, they have a great chance to get them­selves matchsharp – and to set up a po­ten­tial glory run to Wem­b­ley – by pro­gress­ing in the FA Cup.

Favourites

Three rounds are due to be played be­fore the start of the WSL sea­son, but Mul­h­ern is look­ing no fur­ther ahead than to­day’s thir­dround tie.

Sh­effield will be favourites to beat Le­ices­ter, who sit two leagues be­low them in the Premier League Mid­lands Di­vi­sion One – but they are fly­ing high at the top of the ta­ble and boast a 100 per cent league record.

“We’ll be tak­ing noth­ing for granted and we will give Le­ices­ter to­tal re­spect,” said Mul­h­ern.

“This game is our only fo­cus right now, and I’m des­per­ate to win it be­cause a good Cup run would be a mas­sive boost go­ing into the league.”

PIC­TURE: The FA

STAR SPOT­TER: Mul­h­ern brought through Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes, Carly Telford and Jor­dan Nobbs at Sun­der­land

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