Bulls on rebuilding mission as local derby fires up
A REVAMPED Ipswich City Bulls side will host the first local derby of the new season without a number of last year's key players.
However, preparing to tackle Western Spirit at Brassall on Friday night, head coach Norbert Duga was keen to build on the development work achieved last season.
"We've had to reinvigorate the group,'' Norbert said.
"We lost a few players to some circumstances beyond our control like career changes.''
Last season's Capital League 2 Bulls and Spirit teams have been elevated to the Football Brisbane's Capital League 1 competition after the off-season Football Queensland (FQ) restructure.
Among the Bulls players not returning are last year's top goal scorer Ryan Adekoya New. The English visitor didn't have his VISA renewed.
The team based at Sutton Park has also lost captain Zygan Condie (retired), consistent performer Ronan Geoghegan (RAAF job) and new Ipswich Knights FQ Premier League acquisitions Lincoln Rule and Jay Kitching.
Despite those "massive losses'', Duga kicks off his third season in charge grateful for their past service.
"If they had gone and joined another club on the same level or a lower club, I would have been very disappointed,'' he said.
"At the end of the day, they want to push themselves (playing at a higher level) and I'm more than supportive of that.''
A key recruit for the Bulls is former Knights Premier League defender Nick Parfitt.
Duga said wet weather and heat issues had curtailed the Bulls pre-season planning. That included a second round FFA Cup match against Park Ridge, which has been rescheduled for Tuesday night.
Liverpool fan Duga is looking to new players from Brisbane Phoenix and the club's younger brigade to step up this season.
"We have signed a few new names, some former players and promoted from within,'' he said. "I am confident of a strong season.''
With Western Spirit also finding their proverbial feet in the new season, Duga said it didn't concern him that the Bulls met their city rivals first up.
"It doesn't make any difference,'' he said. "We're ready to go in round one.''
Duga is being helped with the Bulls this season by assistant coach Chris Greaves and last year's Reserve Grade mentor Jamie Beahan, who is continuing his role.
Loyal Bulls clubman Brad Hockins is team manager.
As reported earlier in the QT, Western Spirit are also developing their youth as they prepare for the latest local derby.
Capital League 1 local derby: Friday night - Ipswich City Bulls v Western Spirit at Sutton Park, Brassall.
Main game at 8.30pm after Reserve Grade clash at 6.30pm.