All or nothing for Ipswich City in home 'grand final'
FOOTBALL: Fresh from a welcome weekend off, the Ipswich City Bulls start their final surge to make this year's Capital League 1 playoffs.
Just outside the top five, the Bulls need victory over Virginia United at Sutton Park on Saturday night to keep their finals' hopes alive.
Head coach Norbert Duga hopes the short break from the bye gives his team new impetus after a frustrating series of recent disruptions.
"The weekend off is always useful around this time of the year when injuries counts are high,'' Duga said.
"I just wish people were a little better at planning holidays and weekends away because nothing annoys me more when people miss a game either side of a free weekend.
"If you asked me when I was younger what I wanted to do on a birthday I would have said play football.''
Duga believes the sixth-placed Bulls can still make the playoffs. "We definitely still have hopes of playing in the finals for both grades,'' he said.
"A number of weeks ago you would have said Annerley will run away with promotion but after losing six games straight they will struggle to hold onto fourth spot.
"I have been telling the boys every week, every game now is our grand final and we have been fortunate that other teams haven't capitalised.
"But right now, with three rounds to go, it really is all or nothing. So hopefully we are up for it on Saturday and we can put some pressure on the other teams around us chasing finals' football.''
The Bulls will be boosted for the vital home game with some players returning from recent unavailability. However, Michael Ward and captain Joel Munn are in doubt due to work commitments.
Phil Brown is also finished for the season due to travelling overseas.
"I have been pleased with how Suray Teshager has come into the side,'' Duga said. "He's been playing really well the last few weeks and deserves his spot in the first team now.''
In other weekend matches, fifth-placed Western Spirit also have plenty to play for hosting Moggill at Kippen Park.
Top three CL3 contenders Ripley Valley and Springfield similarly have home games on Saturday.
CL1: Saturday (5.15pm) - Ipswich City v Virginia United at Sutton Park. 6pm: Western Spirit v Moggill at Kippen Park.
CL3: Saturday (5pm) - Ripley Valley v Redcliffe at South Ripley sports fields. 6.30pm: Springfield v Logan Metro at Woodcrest College.
BWPL: Saturday (5pm) - Ipswich City v Peninsula at AJ Kelly Park.