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Sky Blues set sights higher
 Women's Football News 17 Aug 2012
Coventry City vice captain Helen Dermody believes the club has all the credentials to build on their sixth place finish from last season, as the club prepare for this weekend's curtain-raiser against Charlton Athletic. 
The Sky Blues take on the Addicks this Sunday at the Bedworth Oval, and they will be hoping they can replicate their formidability from the beginning of last season, which saw them lose just once in their opening seven league games. Coventry finished in sixth position, just one point off third placed Aston Villa in the FA Women's Premier League last season, and Dermody - who has twice won the club's Player of the Year accolade - believes that the team can bridge that gap in the forthcoming campaign:
"Obviously, I am hoping that we can finish higher in the league this season. We were only a few points off the teams that finished above us in the league, so we know we are capable of challenging again. In terms of targets for next season, we would all love a decent run in the FA Cup and League Cup too."
Goalkeeper Sue Wood was slightly more cautious towards her approach to the season, admitting that: "The most important target for any season is ensuring survival in the league, but I am sure everyone will be looking to improve on last season's sixth place finish.
"Winning the Birmingham County Cup was a fantastic achievement for the club last year and I hope we can retain it. We've got a strong squad, with another years experience behind us and an excellent pre-season under our belts, so I am really looking forward to what this season will bring."
Coventry City have just finished their pre-season campaign, which culminated with consecutive closely fought defeats against Women's Super League teams Bristol Academy and Birmingham City, which provided a stern test to both the ability and fitness of the players. However, Wood - formerly of Birmingham City - believes that there was plenty of encouragement to take from the games:
"Bristol Academy and Birmingham City put us under a lot of pressure, and pushed our resilience and ability to retain possession. We did however, hold our own for large periods of both matches, and a massive strength of our team is the ability to unite and work for each other when our backs are against the wall, and we can take plenty of positives from each match."
Dermody echoed those sentiments: "We were tested in all of our friendlies, and even more so against Bristol Academy and Birmingham City. To test ourselves against opposition of such a high calibre is a great opportunity to see where we stand both individually and as a team."
With the pre-season schedule finally completed and the long, hard slog of a competitive season on the horizon, Wood admitted that manager Paul Cudby has been working exceptionally hard to ensure that the Sky Blues are at the top of their game ahead of Sunday's opener:
"All the staff and players have been working hard to make sure we are prepared and you can really see the focus and ambition everyone has, to have another successful season. The friendly games pushed our match fitness and highlighted things we need to tidy up as a group, and I'm sure that will translate on the pitch as soon as the season starts." (by Jonathan Hooke)

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