Ipswich coach to stand down, put family first
HAVING decided to put his family first and stand down as Western Pride head coach, Andrew Catton has a wish for his Queensland Premier League (QPL) team.
That is for the promising young players in his current squad to build on the positives this season and advance their football careers.
"I just want them to carry on the same way we are going because I think we've got a good group there,'' Catton said.
"We could certainly fill in a couple of spots but I think we are definitely going in the right direction.''
Catton will finish the season as head coach before devoting more time to his wife Maree and their impending new arrival.
The dedicated Ipswich couple are expecting their first child on Christmas Day.
After 15 years coaching at school and club level with only minor breaks, Catton said it was time to take some indefinite time off.
"It was my decision and I certainly have the full support of the club to stay on which has been great,'' sand Andrew, who is the Ipswich Grammar School Sport & Extra Curricular Coordinator & Head Of Towers.
"But I want to put myself and my family first, and focus on that.
"Other than a year off after I moved here (from Wide Bay), I've worked every Saturday and most Sundays all that time. It's bloody hard.''
Maree is Marketing and Communications Assistant at Ipswich Grammar School.
Before his extended break from football, Andrew has three more QPL matches to oversee.
That includes Friday night's local derby against the Ipswich Knights at Bundamba.
Catton said his team's preparation had been hampered by calling off Tuesday night training due to the storm. That came after his players had a week off.
"I think we've got enough in the legs but it's frustrating given that we've had that big long break,'' Catton said.
"We missed probably our most important training session because of the rain.''
Knights head coach Andy Ogden said his players would try to find something extra being in sixth place and out of the finals' hunt.
"I think our finals hopes are done and dusted so the only motivation now is to try and beat Pride,'' Ogden said.
"It's a local derby. No-one wants to lose a local derby.''
Fifth-placed Pride, on the same points as Wynnum, can still make the top four for the finals if they beat the Knights, Logan and Souths United in their final three games.
"It's hard,'' Catton said.
"Before COVID, we looked at our run home and thought we had a really good run home. Then COVID struck and we landed Logan (currently in top spot) and Knights.
"We want to win, having lost to them (Knights) earlier in the year.
"Our biggest thing at the moment is just trying to get us back a bit of momentum to finish the season.''
Catton was also keen to field 12 fit senior team players for the derby, expecting his bench to be filled with 17-year-olds.
Captain Nielen Brown is unlikely to play with an ankle injury.
Consistent defender Rhys Webster will miss the game through suspension.
However, Catton said both derby teams were in a similar situation with late season injury challenges.
"The Knights are in the same boat,'' he said.
"We are about the only two clubs in the entire league that haven't gone out and bought millions and millions of reinforcements and spent a lot of money post-COVID.
"It is certainly difficult for both of our clubs.''
The positive out of that is more tremendous home grown development has been achieved at both Ipswich clubs.
QPL local derby: Friday (7.30pm) - Ipswich Knights v Western Pride at Eric Evans Oval, Bundamba.
Knights won the opening clash 2-1 at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.