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Coventry hope for Olympics boost
 Women's Football News 20 Jul 2012
Coventry City Ladies are hoping that the Olympic Football Tournament this summer will tempt more people to their matches this season, ahead of the start of their pre-season campaign this weekend. 
The team finished in sixth place in the FA Women's Premier League National Division last season - only one point off third position - and kick off their league schedule with the visit of Charlton Athletic on 19th August. Manager Paul Cudby will be hoping to replicate a similar result to last season's 1-0 home victory over the Addicks, and he admits that preparations for the season are going well thus far.
''Pre-season has been very good so far, and it's always important to bear in mind it's to prepare us for the season," he said. "We know it'll be a tough season, there are some fantastic teams in the league and we are going to do all we can to compete with everyone. The first objective will be to ensure safety, so the quicker we can reach that mark then we will look upwards and re-evaluate.''
The Sky Blues start their pre-season campaign this coming Sunday against Sheffield FC - who finished runners-up in the FA Women's Premier League Northern Division last season - before playing host to Wolverhampton Wanderers on 29th July. They then finish their schedule as they face two tough ties against FA Women's Super League sides Bristol Academy and Birmingham City on the 5th and 12th of August respectively.
However, Cudby believes that playing against these sides will only benefit Coventry City in the future: ''It's a terrific experience to face the 2011 FA Cup finalists in Bristol Academy, and also the 2012 FA Cup winners in Birmingham City. We're all looking forward to it and it's a great opportunity to test ourselves against some of the players that will represent Team GB too.''
The club has urged fans to get into the spirit of the game as football takes over the city, and attend the pre-season fixtures which act as a precursor to the Women's Olympic Football Tournament, which begins on 25th July. There will be five matches taking place at the City of Coventry Stadium, beginning with Japan v Canada on the opening day of the tournament, as well as the Bronze Medal match on the final day of the competition.
Women's football has always been in a position where it is fighting a losing battle for popularity and exposure in contrast to the male equivalent, but Cudby believes that the sport is an untapped market and the event this summer - as well as the improving fortunes of the club - could inspire more people to attend matches at the Bedworth Oval.
''In terms of participation, women's football is the third largest team sport in the country, behind only men's football and men's cricket. So to have the opportunity to see a team competing on a national level in the Premier League here in Coventry I hope will inspire females of all ages.''
"Our players are wonderful role models to young people as they have to do so much work away from our training sessions, in order to be at their very best. They all conduct themselves impeccably so I hope we see plenty of Coventrians coming to watch us and support us. Add to the fact we are five minutes from the City of Coventry Stadium, it's ideal. It'd be great to see families coming along and experience the women's game right on their doorstep.''
The fixtures against Sheffield, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bristol Academy will take place at Coventry Sphinx Sports & Social Club, whilst the home game against Birmingham City will take place at The Oval, home of Bedworth United.

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