We check in with the boss of one of Sunday's FA Women's Premier League Cup Finalists...
SK: Was the FA Women's Premier League Cup one of your main targets for the season?
MM: Yeah, obviously we targetted the league first and foremost and if you go well in the league, you've got a realistic chance of going all the way to the League Cup Final. But we weren't arrogant enough to think we'd win both but that's our target and you have to aim high, don't you?
SK: How do you feel the slightly different format for the cup has worked?
MM: It's kind of difficult with the County Cups taking preference as well, trying to fit the games in and I think we always have a bad spell at the beginning of the year weatherwise and I think we struggled this year but we've kept the interest and I think it's been a good idea to have it after Christmas. I think they might change the format again next year and have it before Christmas. It's great that it keeps the interest and keeps you having games as the league campaign is almost done after Christmas and the games are so spread out.
SK: You face Leeds United, your closest competitors in the league - will this be a fitting final, showcasing the best two teams in the FAWPL?
MM: Yeah, I think so, the final is exactly that. You've got two teams who deserve to be there, you just have to look at the league and the difference between ourselves, Leeds and the rest, I think the closest is on 26 points and we're both in the forties, so I think that it's fitting that Leeds and Sunderland are playing in the final. If the Super League applications had been based just on success, both Sunderland and Leeds would have been in there.
(Sunderland celebrate retaining their FA Premier League title last week)
SK: How will you prepare for the final against Leeds, your previous meetings have been very tight?
MM: They've been tough, Leeds are a good side, a well organised side, we've got nothing but the utmost respect for what Leeds have done this season. The preparation has been no different to how I always prepare. I tend to look at the opposition in detail and see what we can do to deal with the opposition but it hasn't to be any different just because we're in a final.
SK: Do you view your season as having been a success? What next?
MM: Obviously it would be fantastic to complete the double but we know that's going to be really tough against Leeds. It's good that I don't see there being a favourite as such, it's the two top teams. Then obviously we'll build for next season and do exactly the same again and already we're looking at targets for next season.
The FA Women's Premier League Cup
The Final - Sunderland v Leeds United
2.30pm, Sunday 6 May 2012
Sixfields Stadium, Northampton Town FC
Ticket prices - £5 for adults and £2.50 concessions
Group bookings - £3/£2 for 15 people or more
Online ticket sales via the ticket section of www.ntfc.co.uk
Neither are workable or likely at present but hypothetically, would you prefer a more strict salary cap in the FA WSL OR should centrally contracted England players (that receive salaries from The FA) be allocated more evenly around WSL1 clubs?