Marc Hingston believes the injection of former Thornton captain Sophie Milton in Wallsend’s starting side on Sunday will bring an end to “a few weeks from hell”.
The Herald Women’s Premier League top-four contenders were hit hard with injuries and absences last month then lost strike weapon Sass Seaborn to this round’s rivals South Wallsend.
Milton and Jennifer Jongbloed joined the Red Devils this week after leaving last-placed Thornton. The Redbacks have since withdrawn their first-grade side from the remainder of the WPL season.
Hingston will play Milton in the midfield and use Georgia Minors up front with Laura Hall. Jongbloed is set to play in the 20s side.
It is the first time the Red Devils will play Seaborn since her departure but Hingston said the focus at The Gardens on Sunday was “consolidating a place in the top four”.
All points from Thornton matches have been deleted, leaving Wallsend fourth with seven points and one ahead of the Wolves.
“It’s always been about our team and developing and being the best we can, so it doesn’t matter who we play, it’s just about doing well,” Hingston said.
“As far as it being a local derby, or Sass, that hasn’t been mentioned at all.”
The last time the two sides met, Wallsend won 3-2.
“The biggest thing to come out of last time we played them was we were in control at half-time then gave away two really cheap penalties,” Hingston said.
“We had the chance to go and put the team to the sword and we didn’t. We’ve spoke a lot about that.
“If you are in that situation, you’ve got to learn to push the button a bit harder and finish the game off and we’ve done that since playing them.”
Erin Wilson is still out through suspension for South Wallsend, who should otherwise be close to full strength.
The match between third-placed New Lambton (15 points) and Adamstown (four), sixth, has been moved to Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility at Speers Point.
The Eagles will be without key attacker Joey Burgess through work commitments and injured goalkeeper Olivia Sneddon is out for Rosebud.
When they last met, the Eagles won 4-0 but Adamstown were without fearless leader Clare Cummings that day and new recruits Lauren Allan and Laura Millen, who makes her first appearance on Sunday.
Both games kick off Sunday at 2.30pm.
Adamstown and South Wallsend back up to play each other in a rescheduled match at Walker Fields on Wednesday night in what Rosebud coach Paul Devitis described as “a big few days for us”.
“If we lose both it’s going to make it hard for us to make the top four,” Devitis said.
“If we win them then we’re in the top four.”
Merewether and Warners Bay both have the bye ahead of their top-of-the-table clash at John Street Oval next Wednesday night.
Points: Warners Bay 22, Merewether 20, New Lambton 15, Wallsend 7, South Wallsend 6, Adamstown 4, Thornton 0.