Sunderland and Teesside women's football teams in action at Southern Areas Playing Fields.

Sunderland and Teesside women’s football teams in action at Southern Areas Playing Fields.

University of Sunderland women’s manager Phil Naisbett has welcomed the league’s winter break, saying it will do his side “the world of good”.

The team goes into it off the back of a disappointing 7-1 defeat to Sheffield, but he’s backing his players to put that behind them before the next game.

“The break’s good, definitely,” Naisbett said. “It gives everyone here a chance to come back nice and refreshed after the New Year.

“Then we can start to look to push on again, and hopefully improve our performances.”

The team were boosted by a hard-fought point against Leeds a week prior to the Sheffield defeat, where Amy Woods starred in an entertaining stalemate.

Woods, as well as teammates Emma Rowley, Emily Neal and Samantha Minney, all netted as the girls had to battle back from two goals down on two separate occasions.

And it’s this game, where they finally picked up that elusive first point, from which the gaffer is going to take inspiration.

“There were positives to take from the Leeds game, for sure. The girls worked really hard to grind that result out, so the Sheffield score was hard to take.

“The squad was depleted slightly that day but ultimately the final result wasn’t great.”

Sunderland’s next game comes at home to table-toppers Teesside, where they’ll be looking to make up for the 13-2 loss suffered the last time the sides met.

Gaffer Naisbett has conceded it’ll be difficult, but believes anything’s possible on the day.

He said: “It certainly won’t be easy as Teesside have some very good players.

“However, if we have a full strength squad to choose from, I’ve got enough belief in the team that we can certainly go and at least give a good account of ourselves.”