Durham sign former Sunderland defender Abby Holmes

Photo: @DurhamWFC

Abby Holmes becomes Durham’s signing of the summer and joins after a spell playing professionally with PEC Zwolle in the Netherlands.

The Wildcats say that primarily a full-back, although comfortable playing in a variety of positions, Holmes burst onto the scene at Sunderland and helped the Black Cats to lift the FA WSL 2 title in 2014.

The defender stayed with the Wearsiders until 2017, when she moved overseas to join PEC Zwolle in the Dutch top flight.

And Holmes impressed on the foreign stage where she was a virtual ever-present in one of the club’s best-ever campaigns.

Having now returned to England, Holmes has teamed up with the Wildcats ahead of the new FA Women’s Championship campaign – and the defender is delighted to be at New Ferens Park.

“It feels great to be at the club and I’m looking forward to playing in England again,” she told durham.fawsl.com.

“Durham sound like a very fan orientated club and in the past few seasons they have played good football and have always been up there fighting for the title.

“I can’t wait to get started and down to business.”

After a fourth place finish last season, the Wildcats are looking to push for the top – an ambition that Holmes shares.

“Personally, I want to secure a regular place in the starting eleven, contribute to the team and gain promotion,” she added.

“Having watched the club play numerous times over the last few years they are always improving and it could be a very exciting year for Durham.

“The league will be tough with new teams added but I feel confident that the team has enough quality and ambition to be competing for the league title and promotion.”

Manager Lee Sanders was delighted to land the defender, saying: “She’s a player who has been top of my list for a number of seasons now and when the opportunity arose to talk to her I was never going to turn it down.

“She’s fiercely competitive, experienced, and can play a bit too!

“I know she will give us another leader on the pitch and that can only be a good thing for the team as we look to improve on last season’s position and challenge for the title.”