News: Reay Looks Ahead To New Championship Season

Sunderland head coach Mel Reay can’t wait for the new season to start after the FA Women’s Championship fixtures were announced on Friday morning.

The newly promoted Black Cats will travel to the midlands to face Coventry United on the opening day, before Blackburn Rovers make the trip to Wearside for the first home game.

Reay’s side will rack up the miles with trips to Crystal Palace, Lewes, Bristol City, Charlton Athletic and Watford before the winter break, which could prove to be an advantage with less travelling in the New Year.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” Reay said. We’re on the road for the first game with a good fixture for us against Coventry United – we’ll do our research and prepare the team properly. That’s what we’re all working towards.

“Hopefully less travelling after Christmas will prove beneficial for us, but it is what it is, and we’re used to the travel. We’ll prepare properly and thoroughly for every game, home or away, and we’re very excited for some of the trips we’ve got to come.”

The 2021-22 campaign will also see the return of the Wearside derby for the first time in four years when Durham Women make the trip down the A690 on 10 October, with the return fixture taking place 24 April at Maiden Castle.

Although both games will be eagerly anticipated, Reay insists her main focus is securing enough points to secure the club’s Championship status.

“Everyone likes a local derby, but there are other games in that league which are just as important. We’ll take the season one game at a time and look to earn as many points as possible.”

Words and Photo by Chris Fryatt