Extra derby challenge: Ipswich City's quality being tested
THE Ipswich City Bulls depth will be tested in Friday night's football local derby with a number of experienced players away or under injury clouds.
Bulls head coach Norbert Duga said playmakers like Ronan Geoghegan and Nathan Manttan were away in New Zealand.
Regular first graders Dane Grant (groin), Nathan Gee (suspected hernia), Benny Hunt (calf injury) and goalkeeper Zayne Freiberg are also in doubt.
However, Duga knows his Reserve Grade back-up can step up as they often do.
"Spirit are right there chasing the pack with the rest of us so whether it's a derby or not we just desperately need the three points to keep up with the teams above us and put a gap between the teams below us,'' Duga said.
Injury and unavailability issues aside, Duga has been pleased with how the fifth-placed Bulls have been travelling.
"I'm pleased with how we're going, the whole squad has been training well,'' he said.
Last weekend's 6-1 victory over Annerley provided a boost, especially with former premiership-winning captain Corey Eggmolesse designing a special jersey and inspiring the current Bulls players.
"We've always had a pretty close group and it's very rare that we walk off the field feeling like we have let ourselves down, which is pleasing,'' Duga said.
"I just keep reiterating to the boys that every time they come up with a result like that, it just proves they can do it.
"We will keep pushing them to give it their all, keep them fresh and motivated but it's up to the players to be consistent week in, week out.
"We have put 11 goals past two of the top four teams in the last three weeks, it's proof they can do it and they know that.''
Duga said the Bulls had added motivation to end a recent run of losses at Kippen Park.
"The derby always adds excitement,'' Duga said, enjoying his coaching role this season.
"The win in game one gave me my first win against Spirit so it's good to get that monkey off my back.''
Tomorrow night's main game at Kippen Park is at 8.30pm after the Reserves clash at 6.30pm.