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Dan Ray on Cirencester Town Ladies’ superb start, journey and treble target ahead of Stoke Lane Athletic tie

Cirencester Town Ladies manager Dan Ray admitted ensuring his players perform at their highest level is becoming an increasingly difficult task.

The Gloucestershire based side have begun the season in superb form winning all 10 of their league games whilst progressing in both the Women’s County Cup and the Gordon Perrett League Cup.

Subsequently, they sit top in Division One of the Gloucestershire County Women’s Football League.

“It’s tough for me to keep the girls motivated with us being 10 games undefeated and it can drop off a little bit,” said Ray.

“No matter what game we go into at the moment I want to go in full strength and I want everyone trying their hardest.”

Those principles will be needed on Sunday when they host Stoke Lane Athletic Women in the last 16 of the League Cup.

“We’ve had some close encounters but the way the girls are playing at the moment, we are difficult to beat,” added Ray.

“That’s what we need to aim for. Not just beating everyone but being difficult to beat and that’s where teams I feel are struggling trying to take that off us.”

It is a competition that evokes memories of heartache after Bitton Ladies defeated them 6-2 in the final last season with Ray and co eager to avenge those memories.

“There wasn’t much we could do as Bitton were a very good side,” said the Cirencester manager.

“We have come on a long way since then. For me I want to go for all three trophies including the County Cup and that’s what we are pushing for.”

Their pursuit of the County Cup continues two weeks after the Stoke Lane tie with AEK Boco visiting the Corinium Stadium, a team Cirencester defeated 4-0 in league action.

“I went and watched them over the weekend and they are a very good side but at the same time I feel like the way we are playing with the home advantage, we will give them a very good game,” said Ray.

Meanwhile, the winning run in the league stretches back to February 26th when a run of eight consecutive wins earnt them a third place finish in Division Two and promotion to the top tier of the Gloucestershire footballing pyramid with a third place finish.

The continuation of their form into the 2023/24 season has come as a surprise to Ray and his team with attentions turning to what next season could have in store for them.

“The Gloucestershire league is quite difficult anyway,” said Ray.

“We thought it would be a bigger jump but most teams in Division Two and One are good so I do think jumping up a league if we win this one is going to be a bigger jump but we will worry about that when we get there.”

Ray arrived at the club during the COVID-19 pandemic and the current campaign feels like a culmination of the hard work since that time.

“If we are missing one or two bigger players it doesn’t really affect us anymore,” said Ray.

“We’ve got a really good squad that caters for all the leagues and cups.”

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