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Coventry City midfielder Helen Dermody praised the impact of returning team mate Emily Simpkins, for her role in their Premier League Cup victory over Aston Villa at the weekend.
Simpkins - who joined FA Women's Super League runners-up Birmingham City on loan in August - set up Destiney Toussaint to head in the opener at Boldmere, and Courtney Sweetman-Kirk beat the offside trap to extend the Sky Blues' lead shortly after. Simpkins then added to the score sheet with a superb free kick, before Katie Wilkinson netted a consolation for the hosts.
''The performance at the weekend was a much needed improvement from the previous weeks and as a team, we were looking even stronger as the match went on," admitted Dermody. "However it is always good to add to the squad and when Emily is in form she is a fantastic player.
"Her goal on Sunday was good for us and I'm sure she will carry on aiding the team both on and off the pitch in the coming weeks."
Manager Paul Cudby agreed with Dermody's sentiments: ''Emily was really important for us last season and she had a great pre-season. Unfortunately for us a Super League club came knocking which was a great opportunity for her. She did very well against Villa, and it's great to have her back in with us now.''
Following two league losses on the bounce, which has seen Coventry slip to eighth in the FA Women's Premier League, Cudby was determined not to let local rivalry get in the way and simply insisted his team focus on their own game.
''Aston Villa are a very good side and difficult to beat, so it's pleasing to win in that circumstance," he said. "I don't get too caught up in the rivalries too much, I'd rather we focus on ourselves and continue to improve our own performances.
"I was pleased with the response last week against Manchester City to be honest and despite losing I felt we were much improved from the Watford game. It's good to see us take another step forward, and it'll be an even tougher test next week to repeat it. That's what we must strive for though."
The victory over Aston Villa gave the Sky Blues their third win from as many games in the FA League Cup, and means that they are on the verge of qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition. They only need a point from their final game against Derby County next month to top Group Three.
It will be a case of déjà vu this weekend, when both teams meet again in a league fixture at the Bedworth Oval. Villa have struggled to live up to their third placed success of last season and sit just one place above table-propping Barnet. However such is the tightness of the division, victory for either team could lift them as high as fourth in the table, but Cudby believes that there will be no mental advantage for his team, heading into the game.
"No I don't think we will have that benefit at all. I think form or anything that's gone before, counts for very little in these situations, and it's important we earn the right to play again as we did this week."
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