Sunderland & Middlesbrough prepare for Women’s FA Cup Wear-Tees derby

Sunderland AFC Ladies’ Hayley Sharp

FA Women’s National League Premier North clubs Sunderland and Middlesbrough prepare for a Wear-Tees derby as they enter the Women’s FA Cup.

FA WNL Premier sides join the competition in the Second Round, and SAFC Ladies welcome their Teesside rivals to Hebburn Town’s Energy Check Sports Ground in the game worth £1000 in prize money.

Sunderland head into the game after a three week break, a postponement and a free weekend filling the gap since November’s 3-1 win over Loughborough Foxes.

Middlesbrough have seen action more recently, beating Stockport County 7-0 away in the FA WNL Plate before losing 6-0 to a visiting Huddersfield Town in the League.

Sunderland will be without defender Megan Beer, who suffered an ankle injury in training on Tuesday. Emily Hutchinson and Allison Cowling remain on the long term list, although goalkeeper Cowling is edging nearer to a return.

Boro’s record scorer Bianca Owens is yet to make her debut after re-signing for the club from Norton & Stockton Ancients in October.

The last meeting between the two sides was a feisty 1-1 draw in September, in which Sunderland finished with 10 players and Middlesbrough missed a late penalty.

That draw is the only blot on the Black Cats’ copybook, with Melanie Reay’s side winning 13 of their last 14, stretching back to April. Middlesbrough’s form isn’t so strong, winning five and losing six of their last 13 in all competitions.

However, the strains of a derby and cup football add to the intrigue of Sunday’s game.

Tickets are priced at £3 for adults and £1 for children for the 1pm kick-off at Hebburn Town’s Energy Check Sports Ground.

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