14 February 2020

Alan Shearer's cousin Melanie Reay on her side Sunderland's FA Cup tie and aiming for promotion

Melanie Reay, Sunderland's manager and England football legend Alan Shearer's cousin, has said she is aiming for her side to be promoted.

Sunderland face Women's Super League side Birmingham City in their FA Cup tie this weekend.

Reay, who was also an England coach in their World Cup qualifiers, has said that promotion from the third tier is the goal.

“Promotion’s our overriding objective. But it’s [FA Cup] a great opportunity to test ourselves,” she told the Guardian.

Sunderland's owner Stewart Donald has supported the women's side and allows them to use the facilities of their Premier League one men's side, the Academy of Light.

Licensing and funding issues at the club have meant that the women's side faced a double relegation to the National League North.

“It’s a Premier League-standard training ground and being able to use the indoor barn means I never need cancel sessions, said Reay.

“This club has a great history and we’re really driven to get back where we believe we belong. Our double relegation wasn’t down to results so it hurt but we’ve moved on from the bitter disappointment of what happened. We’ve got over it; we’re on a new journey now.”

Sunderland v Birmingham City kicks off on Sunday at 2pm.

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