Forget tactics or rain, Pride want to continue NPL rise
FOOTBALL: Whether it's tactics or genuine concern at Redlands, Western Pride head coach Terry Kirkham is determined to play Friday night's crucial match.
Preparing for the National Premier Leagues match at Cleveland, Kirkham was told the looming showdown could be called off due to the prospect of rain.
However, the experienced Pride mentor didn't want any rash decisions made knowing how important the match is.
Pride (in 13th place on 12 points) and home team Redlands United (11th on 16 points) are both in the NPL relegation zone.
"We're ready to play and we really need to go,'' Kirkham said.
After a confidence-boosting 3-2 win over South West Queensland last weekend, Kirkham has prepared his team for a Friday night encounter.
He hinted that Redlands might want the game delayed as they have some injury issues.
Talk was that the Redland City Council could intervene with rain forecast for the weekend.
"Especially Redlands (football club) are trying to get the game called off,'' Kirkham said. "They're trying to say they are going to have a lot of rain today and tomorrow.''
However, Kirkham said Pride wouldn't agree to an early postponement of the scheduled 7pm match at Cleveland Showgrounds.
"Until that happens (council shuts the ground), it (the game) is on,'' the coach said.
"If they shut the ground tomorrow, that means they are shutting the ground for the whole weekend, which is going to put everybody out.''
Kirkham said his improving Pride combination was keen to build on recent results and continue their climb up the NPL ladder.
With Afghan international striker Zelfry Nazary joining Mustafa Jafari, Michael Morrow and Alex Parsons up front, Kirkham said Pride finally had a frontline capable of consistently scoring goals.
"We started to create problems,'' he said. "We went six weeks and we didn't score a goal . . . now they are starting to get it.
"When you look at the front four now . . . I believe I can develop that quartet in the future to be a very powerful outfit, considering they've only all really started playing together in the last three weeks.
"All boys can score at any time and that gives us a good chance.''
Free-running Morrow in particular has been more comfortable being moved to number nine after being tried in a number of positions this season.
Pride has also had a more settled midfield and experienced defensive structure in recent weeks after what Kirkham conceded was a first half fail.
With key players Nielen Brown and Chris Anderson recovering from injury and international duo Anthony Sarramea and Killian Flavin to return next month, Pride suddenly have more options in their quest to avoid relegation.