Check out key changes that could save Western Pride
WESTERN Pride head coach Terry Kirkham is planning some "fast'' changes as his team steps up its fight to remain in the 2020 National Premier Leagues football competition.
With 12th placed Magpies Crusaders holding a six-point advantage, Pride need to beat Gold Coast United at home on Saturday night to have any chance of moving clear of the dreaded relegation zone.
After giving his players last weekend off during the catch-up round, Kirkham has welcomed back experienced striker Anthony Sarramea for the crucial contest at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
Sarramea will slot straight back into the number nine role, strengthening Pride's ability to score after making steady progress in recent games.
"When you look at our team, that's really what we've missed all year,'' Kirkham said.
In a completely different focus this weekend, Kirkham was planning to move regular frontman Michael Morrow to right back for the 7pm clash.
"He can read the game really well,'' Kirkham said of Morrow.
"He's very keen to play at the back. He's fast, he's sharp, he can tackle.
"He looked really good at training through the week.''
Another exciting defender Kirkham is looking to include in the top team squad is Ipswich Grammar School student Connor Maynard.
After some "exceptional'' performances in the Pride's under-18 and under-20 sides, Maynard could get an opportunity in the senior side against Gold Coast United.
"He's been identified as my number one pick for the future,'' Kirkham said, keen to play Maynard at the back with Morrow and captain Cam Crestani.
Moving the dependable Jacob Minett into the midfield adds quality in that zone.
With more scoring options with Sarramea's return from France, Kirkham was confident the changes would bolster his team's ball-playing versatility.
Although Pride have a game in hand, time is running out to overtake the Crusaders and secure a spot in next year's NPL series.
The Crusaders had a lucky break beating a player-depleted Olympic side, which focused on the FFA Cup national competition this week rather than the NPL.
South West Queensland are hovering a point behind Pride, also desperate to win their remaining games.
"On the flip side, we've had our chances too in the last four weeks,'' Kirkham said.
Pride lost 3-1 to Gold Coast United in the first round, giving the home side added incentive to turn the tables on Saturday night and strengthen their survival hopes.
With Pride's junior sides performing well this season, Kirkham said the senior players had a responsibility to the club to give their all to build on what has been achieved.
"We've got everyone in now. We can get stuck in,'' Kirkham said.
The Western Pride women play Capalaba in Saturday's 5pm NPL curtainraiser at Flinders View.
NPL: Saturday (7pm) - Western Pride v Gold Coast United at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
NPL women: Saturday (5pm) - Western Pride v Capalaba at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.