After a storming 2016 season, Durham have already started to build for a title challenge next season, securing a hat trick of regular starters, Nat Gutteridge, Sarah McFadden and Becky Salicki.
Well-experienced attacking midfielder and former Lady Black Cat, Gutteridge has signed on for her second full season with the Wildcats after joining half-way through the 2015 campaign. Enjoying a healthy goal-return this year, Gutteridge really showcased her talents in front of goal as well as in midfield, a key component in Durham’s success.
General manager Lee Sanders spoke of “being over the moon” about having the midfielder on board for the coming season, referring to her as a “catalyst” in Durham’s continued development, glad to have a player of her experience on board, surmising that she’s a “vital” member of the team.
Another former Sunderland star, McFadden has had a huge impact in the squad since her move at the start of the year, fast becoming a mainstay in the squad. The well-travelled Northern Irish international bringing her experience to New Ferens Park, contributing two goals to the cause, proving she’s comfortable in either box.
Sanders was equally as enthusiastic about the deal as for Gutteridge, “delighted” to have McFadden on board for 2017, with high praise for the 29 year-old saying she was “one of the signings of the year” in WSL 2. Her character an important one to have in the team, important both on and off the pitch, described as a “great role model” for some of the more inexperienced players in the side.
Keeping with the theme, Durham have also signed Salicki – another to have featured for Sunderland – for another season. Having struggled with injuries prior to joining the Wildcats, the versatile defender has looked to put her problems behind her and is happy she can focus on football once more. A constant starter for North East team, Salicki has been a rock at the back for Durham, a key aspect in their defensive strengths this term.
Grateful for the added defensive strength Sanders was once again full of praise for his player speaking of the “outstanding job” she did during the 2016 season, another whose presence off the pitch is as important as on. Lauding her work-ethic, Sanders believes the only way is up for the defender, having yet to reach her prime, knowing she has a bright future ahead.