Rovers Ladies manager Gemma Donnelly is eager to get going again in the first game of 2019.
The Ladies face Southern Premier Division outfit Oxford on Sunday, with a place in the Fourth Round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup at stake.
Donnelly said: “Leading up into Christmas we had a good run and we’re unbeaten in all competitions. I hope that we can start the New Year well following on from a successful start to the campaign.”
After a Christmas break with only a couple of training sessions and a useful run out against Aston Villa in a friendly.
“It gave the first team a chance to get some minutes under their belt and get a look at some Development players as well.
“We’ve been back into training this week and will be fully focused, ready to pose Oxford with a problem and try to progress to the next round.”
It’s the first game in nearly a month for the Ladies, who had a memorable 2018.
“We’ve kept the team together, there’s not been any departures pre-Christmas. So if the girls can keep performing as they have been, I don’t see any reason why we can’t continue that streak this year.”
After beating Wolves Women 4-0 in the last round, the draw brought up another long away trip for Rovers. The team are yet to lose on the road this season.
“We can take confidence in that we travel quite well. The positives of travelling are that it enables the team to bond and it galvanises the group.
“But we also have to try and overcome the psychological boundaries of such a lengthy trip. We’ll ensure that we prepare accordingly, utilising our psychology expertise to equip the players to be mentally ready for the clash.”
Donnelly expects a tough test from Oxford, who were competing in Women’s Super League Two last season.
“They were a victim of the restructure. Like other teams who have been demoted, no doubt they will have lost a few of their important players.
“We won’t go there expecting a win. We are aware we’ll have to work hard and play our best football to get a result.”
Last season Rovers made light work of Portsmouth Women at this stage of the competition, beating the coastal side 7-0. However, Donnelly knows it will not be an easy task this time around.
“Realistically we do not expect to go on and win the FA Cup, given we could be drawn against full-time professional teams. But we want to do as well as previous seasons.
“It’s a competition everyone enjoys being part of because you can come across teams that you would not ordinarily play. Also it’s an opportunity to earn some funds and to increase the profile of the club.
“I don’t want to be overly confident, we’ll take each game at a time and ensure that the girls are well drilled for every fixture and hope that it stands us in good stead for the remaining part of the season.
“Of course we’ll do the best that we can and see where that gets us.”
You can follow Sunday’s game against Oxford on Twitter (@RoversLadies), with kick-off scheduled for 2pm.