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Donnelly previews cup clash

“Any team that comes to play us wants to beat the champions.”

29 September 2018

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Rovers Ladies are determined to repeat last season’s success as they prepare to face Guiseley Vixens in the FA Women’s National League Cup Preliminary Round this weekend.

Victory away to the Vixens this Sunday will see the holders progress through to the last 32 of the competition which they won for the first time in their history last term. 

Manager Gemma Donnelly said: “We want to do as well as we can in the cup as we are the holders. I’m confident going into the game because we’ve been working hard and the girls are in good form.” 

A postponement prevented the Ladies from playing last weekend, but Donnelly doesn't believe that will have affected the momentum of the new-look team, who have won every game so far this season.

“The girls have been training hard and we had a midweek fixture which stretched us.

“The results speak for themselves. We’ve managed to rotate the squad, so everyone’s had playing time. We’re sampling new things and I feel the girls are embracing the change.

“They are all thrashing out where they sit in the hierarchy of positions and characters. It will take a period of time to ease and settle for the existing and new players.

“It’s down to me to work with the players to assure them and galvanise the group."

After failing to secure promotion to the newly-formed Championship last term, Rovers have put that disappointment behind them on the pitch, beating the likes of Hull, Doncaster Belles, Fylde and Sheffield in the league.

“It was incredibly hard to lift everybody, myself included,” Donnelly admitted. “A number of the staff departed, that wasn’t because of the play-off defeat, but it had a ripple effect across people’s attitude towards falling at the final hurdle again. 

“The existing members of staff and players took a considerable break over June to reflect, but the majority wanted to go again. I think that demonstrates the strength of character and the bond that we all have here."

Guiseley Vixens narrowly avoided relegation last season after being newly promoted into the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division.

On Sunday’s opponents, Donnelly added: “Guiseley are going to be tough competition. They’ve improved from when we played them last season and we definitely won’t go into the game complacent or underestimate our opponents.

“They’ve probably underachieved and certainly have strengthened, giving teams a run for their money. Like every team in this division, I have the greatest respect for them.

“It’s a bit of a win-win for any team that comes to play us because they want to beat the champions. So everyone ups their game.

“We go into the game at full strength and I hope that this will be enough to get a positive result.”

You can watch Rovers Ladies away at Nethermoor Park this Sunday (kick-off 2pm). Alternatively, follow all the action via Twitter, with live updates from @RoversLadies.

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