Knights keep faith before tackling 2018 challenge
WITH the Ipswich Knights part of an expanded Premier League competition next season, head coach Danny Wilson is looking to blood younger players in the second half of this season.
"It's one eye on next year now,'' Wilson said, knowing the Knights can't be relegated under the current Brisbane Premier League format.
However, after a tenacious 2-2 draw with Rochedale last weekend, Wilson is this weekend showing faith in the players that toiled hard for him.
Apart from goalkeeper Declan Murphy receiving a two-match suspension, the Knights will field the same line-up in Saturday night's clash with Souths United at Wakerley Park.
"It's the first time this year that we've been able to put the same side out, which is a big positive for us,'' Wilson said. "It's good to take the confidence from a positive situation.''
The Knights hung on gamely to deny Rochedale victory after being down to nine players when defender Devon Munn needed a head cut patched up.
Murphy will be replaced by Knights junior Alex Finlayson, who came on in the second half last weekend. Murphy received a red card after a goal mouth incident.
While happy with Murphy's efforts this season, Wilson said Finlayson deserved his chance to play first grade.
"He's been doing a good job for Reserve Grade the last couple of weeks so he gets an opportunity,'' the head coach said.
"He's been the doing right things, which is fantastic.''
Wilson was also impressed with regular Reserve Graders Elliot White and starter Luke Monaghan, who played in the top side against Rochedale.
White scored both goals for the Knights.
In line with his development plans, Wilson has expanded the Knights training to include the club's under-18 contingent.
"It's to build a good squad there together and show the younger kids what it takes to be part of the senior environment,'' he said. "It's really positive.''
Saturday (7pm) - NPL: Western Pride v Brisbane Roar Youth. CL2 (4.30pm) - Ipswich City Bulls v Brisbane Phoenix. Reserves match at 2.30pm. All three games at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
BPL: (7pm) - Ipswich Knights v Souths United at Wakerley Park.
CL2: (6pm) - Western Spirit v Oxley United at Kippen Park.