Coach reveals promotion threats as his team in finals fight
PREPARING to tackle the competition leaders, astute Ipswich Knights coach Andy Ogden already senses which Football Queensland Premier League teams will fight for promotion this season.
"From what I've seen, and this is no disrespect to Mitchy (Mitchelton), it's going to be out of Logan and Toowoomba (South West Thunder),'' the experienced footballer said.
"And Logan have got a very good squad.''
Ogden's views on Logan were cemented after his team's latest 3-1 loss at Bundamba to the powerful Lightning combination strengthened by Melbourne-based recruits.
"It's the first time (this season) we probably didn't deserve anything (from the game). They were good,'' Ogden said.
"That's the best I've seen Logan play for a long time and I watch most of their games.
"They were really up for it. They were bringing guys off the bench who were absolute quality.''
Ogden's other choice for promotion is South West Thunder, who the Knights play at Bundamba on Sunday afternoon.
"It doesn't get any easier for us,'' he said of having three games in 10 days.
After hovering around third and fourth for a number of weeks, the Knights have slipped out of the top six.
Losses to Souths United (1-0), Wynnum (3-1 last Friday) and Logan (last night) have hurt the Knights finals' hopes.
However, Ogden knows he has the squad to make the playoffs again after some key injury and player unavailability setbacks.
"Things aren't going our way at the moment,'' he said.
"We have to knuckle down, find the good things, get the confidence back and see how we go.
"We'll still be in the fight for the top six.''
Ogden conceded the Knights' main problem was converting opportunities - a coach's biggest frustration.
"We were definitely missing Lachy (the team's leading goal scorer who has received a work transfer),'' the coach said. "But (against Souths United and Wynnum) we still created enough chances to win games.''
Ogden was pleased to have classy midfielder Sho Otsuka back in a youthful side last night after missing the previous two games.
Ogden has given his players the week off training to recover from a heavy playing schedule.
The Knights latest loss comes after Western Pride went down 1-0 to third-placed Mitchelton on Tuesday night following last Saturday night's 6-1 win over South West.
"Pride did very well to do what they did but to me that was just a blip in Toowoomba's form,'' Ogden said. "They will come back strong.
"We will have to be up for it.''
The Knights coach is looking for more game time from under-20 talents Murray Thistlewaite, Darren Barton and Alex Goulding.
"We've got a good percentage of our team out injured,'' he said.
"It's a learning curve. The kids will be better for it.''
Western Pride's next clash is against Rochedale at Underwood Park on Saturday night.
STATE OF PLAY
FQPL: Logan 3 def Ipswich Knights 1 (Nick Edwards); Mitchelton def Western Pride 1-0.