An Ipswich Knights defender clears the ball from the goal mouth during a recent trial against South West Thunder in Toowoomba. Picture: Nev Madsen
An Ipswich Knights defender clears the ball from the goal mouth during a recent trial against South West Thunder in Toowoomba. Picture: Nev Madsen

Knights in happy place for ‘local derby’ trial against Bulls

AS the Ipswich City Bulls regroup from their FFA Cup exit, the Ipswich Knights are looking to enjoy their latest "local derby'' trial at Brassall.

"I'm really happy with my top 20,'' Knights head coach Andy Ogden said, preparing for Saturday's pre-season games at Sutton Park.

Ipswich City will host the Knights in trials at 2pm (under-23) and 4pm (senior men).

The Bulls are preparing for their next Capital League 1 season, kicking off against Brisbane Athletic at the Sutton Park on March 7.

The Knights face Mitchelton in a Friday night Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL) opener at Bundamba on March 12.

While the Bulls rebuild after a 12-1 FFA Cup loss to Buderim last weekend, coach Ogden said his 25-strong senior squad was in a contented place.

Ipswich Knights players close on their South West Thunder opponent during a recent trial. Picture: Nev Madsen
Ipswich Knights players close on their South West Thunder opponent during a recent trial. Picture: Nev Madsen

Recent trials against Eastern Suburbs, South West Thunder, North Star and Mitchelton have given the Knights players some valuable early game time.

Although losing to Easts and Thunder, the Knights won their clashes with North Star and premiership first-round opponents Mitchelton.

The Knights will play Palm Beach in their final trial after Saturday's run against the Bulls.

"Realistically, we probably should be better than the Bulls,'' Ogden said.

However, he stressed results aren't crucial.

"What matters is the process we are trying to put in place and how we play and that we do on the pitch,'' he said.

"So we'll just treat it as if we are playing someone as good as us, if not better, and try and get our processes right.''

Ogden said the only concern so far was not having last year's FQPL goalkeeper of the year Zayne Freiberg playing.

Freiberg injured his hip playing futsal, giving back-up custodian Luke Kindness an extended pre-season opportunity.

Ipswich Knights goalkeeper Luke Kindness. Picture: Nev Madsen
Ipswich Knights goalkeeper Luke Kindness. Picture: Nev Madsen

As his players prepare for another solid run this weekend, Ogden is keen for the game to also boost the Bulls and assist coach Norbert Duga in his CL1 preparations.

"It will be good because local derbies are always a bit of fun,'' he said.

"It will help Norby's team.''

Ogden said his squad had taken on a different look after "a reasonable amount of player turnover'' in the off-season.

"But I'm very happy with it,'' he said. "We've got a good squad where any can play.

"I don't think I lose too much quality no matter who I pick.''

Among recent additions are former Souths United midfielder Fiston Chungu.

Ogden said with last season's COVID-impacted season running into November, he was taking a more measured pre-season approach.

"Because we had such a late year last year, I think I've been a little bit more lenient in the work we've put in,'' he said. "But we're slowly getting to that stage where guys are looking like they've come to do the 90 minutes.''

Bowl up for mighty challenge

Meanwhile, former Ipswich footballers and fans are preparing for their annual Coalstars v St Helen's Bowls Challenge.

This year's fundraiser for the Ipswich Knights is on Sunday, March 7 at United Sports Club.

It is the seventh time the traditional September challenge has been planned, in a changed timeslot.

As it was called off last year due to COVID, it is being held this year one week before the Knights season kicks off.

The bowls challenge starting at 8am is open to all players and supporters from both clubs.

Nominations close on Saturday.

Contacts are: Ross Hallett (0447 167 530) or randkhallett@bigpond.com; Mike Rule (0418 192 385) and Ian Broadbent (0400 723 004).