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Cows aiming for FA Cup success

PUBLISHED: 17:07 23 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:42 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG TOWER HAMLETS COWS are looking to extend their record-breaking run in this season s FA Women s Cup on Sunday when they bid for a place in the first round proper for the first time in their history. The Cows have already equalled their b

By JONATHAN CLEGG

TOWER HAMLETS COWS are looking to extend their record-breaking run in this season's FA Women's Cup on Sunday when they bid for a place in the first round proper for the first time in their history.

The Cows have already equalled their best ever performance in the competition by advancing to the third qualifying round, where they host London rivals Panthers LFC at Victoria Park on Sunday.

Now striker Lucy Mills is aiming to help the club into unchartered territory by continuing their progress in the domestic game's most prestigious tournament.

She said: "It would be a great achievement to get into the first round proper and the chance of drawing a team like Arsenal would be amazing.

"They would probably thrash us 20-0 but the experience and the kudos of playing against them would be tremendous. It would be another great opportunity to raise people's awareness about the team."

Even without a glamour tie against the Premier League's big guns, Mills and her team-mates are doing a pretty good job of attracting attention through their exploits on the pitch.

The Cows' thrilling 4-3 first-round victory over Hampstead was featured on the Football Association's website, while the team's 5-0 demolition of Brentford in the second round also caught the eye.

Tower Hamlets maintained their good form last weekend as they recorded a 4-1 win over Camden outfit Katabella in the London County Cup and Mills believes they are starting to gel as a team.

"Things are coming together with this team now," she said. "We're focusing on getting the ball wide and always passing it out of defence.

"Karen Clark is in the form of her life and she's doing incredibly well up front and we're taking our form in the FA Cup into other competitions."

The Cows' progress on the field this season has mirrored a series of impressive developments off the pitch, which culminated in the club receiving FA charter status in April in recognition of its excellent coaching and administrative standards.

Mills admits that the team, who signed a partnership deal with Tower Hamlets Council last year, hope to achieve further off-field ambitions in the coming years.

She said: "We want to become a development club and build links with young players in the local area.

"There are a lot of talented players in the borough and maybe if they're not quite good enough to play for West Ham, we would still be able to provide them with an opportunity to continue playing football."

Further progress in the FA Cup this weekend would help raise the awareness of the impressive job that caretaker manager Katy Arnold has done with the Cows.

Club captain Arnold, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury, was promoted to interim coach following the departure of the club's former manager last month, and masterminded the thrashing of Brentford within weeks of taking over.

"She has stepped up to the challenge really well and she's made some good tactical decisions," Mills said.

"It's difficult for her because she's doing such a good job as manager but she doesn't want to hang up her boots yet."

If the Cows march into the FA Cup's first round on Sunday, she might yet be tempted to stay in the dugout a little while longer.

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