Goalkeeper Rachael Laws admits Sunderland’s start to the season has been so good they have now reassigned their goals from survival to mid-table serenity.
The Lady Black Cats kicked-off their season with a 2-1 defeat of back-to-back champions Liverpool and go into the last game before the mid-season break against Birmingham sitting pretty in FA WSL 1.
Victory against winless Birmingham on Saturday at the Hetton Centre could see them rise to third place in the table.
Sunderland v Birmingham City
FA Women's Super League with BT Sport 1
6.30pm, Saturday 9 May
And Laws admits their points tally so far has exceeded all expectations.
She said: “Our aim at the start of the season was simply to stay up, but after the start we made we could afford to revise that to maybe finishing fourth or fifth.
“There were no doubts at all in the squad about whether we would be capable of playing at this level. We had worked hard over the last few years and deserve to be here.
“Every home game you have got to aim for at least a point, but we will hope to get three on Saturday. It will be a very tough game, but we hope to put on a show.
“Being part of this squad is a great experience. I’m playing ok, I have made a few mistakes and this league is unforgiving.
“But I’m not dwelling on that, I’m only looking forwards. I’m only 24, so I’m still young and learning all the time.”
In stark contrast to Sunderland’s start, Birmingham City could barely have begun slower.
Having been denied the 2014 title by a final-day draw with Notts County, Birmingham are still searching for their first League win of this season.
In addition, only Aoife Mannion and Coral-Jade Haines have found the net, but midfielder Jo Potter has not given up hope of a charge towards the summit just yet.
“If you look at what Liverpool did last year, they finished the first part of the season with six points. If we can get three points and give ourselves a chance, that would be great,” said Potter, named in the PFA WSL Team of the Year.
“It has been quite a frustrating season. We have limited teams to very few chances but not been able to take them ourselves.
“The game against Bristol showed how many chances we did create, but it was just one of those games where we could still be playing now and we wouldn’t have scored.
“This weekend Sunderland are playing at home, so it’s going to be a tough game. As long as we just keep minimising teams’ efforts and chances, it is going to come for us. It is just a matter of time.”