It’s becoming crunch time for Football Queensland Premier League 1 sides like the Ipswich Knights and Western Pride. Picture: Christina Moran
It’s becoming crunch time for Football Queensland Premier League 1 sides like the Ipswich Knights and Western Pride. Picture: Christina Moran

Knights on the move to keep warm, avoid relegation

AS if battling to stay out of the relegation zone isn't a big enough challenge, teams like the Ipswich Knights have to battle the freezing conditions.

Training at night through the week and playing Friday evening games in the current cold snap tests everyone's commitment.

However, Knights head coach Andy Ogden backs his team to prepare properly with so much at stake in this year's Football Queensland Premier League 1 competition.

"It's definitely freezing down at Bundamba or Ebbw Vale (where the Knights train and play),'' Ogden said.

"It's wrap-up time and what have you but it seems all right.

"We had a good positive session on Tuesday night. Tonight will be a lot lighter as we play tomorrow.

"(With the cold) it's just make sure it's all upbeat and no one standing around. Don't do too much talking and analysing. Keep warm.''

After last Friday night's 3-0 loss to Wynnum in chilly conditions, the Knights are preparing for another frosty night tackling Mitchelton at Bundamba.

Friday night's 7.30pm game at Eric Evans Oval is crucial for the fifth-placed Knights.

With four wins, a draw and five losses, the Knights are only one point ahead of Mitchelton and Souths United.

Those mid-table teams have a small buffer over the bottom three sides, with those teams being relegated to the FQPL2 competition at season's end.

"Like we were saying at training on Tuesday, if you win two games in a row you could be safe,'' Ogden said.

"If you lose two games in a row, you are absolutely in for the fight of your life.

"Everyone is who not in the top three at the moment is potentially in that battle.

"Even when we were sitting in third place earlier in the year, we weren't kidding ourselves how quickly it could change and the quality of the teams below had improved.''

No time to be grounded as the Ipswich Knights refocus on securing victory at their home field on Friday night. Picture: Christina Moran
No time to be grounded as the Ipswich Knights refocus on securing victory at their home field on Friday night. Picture: Christina Moran

The Knights are without busy midfielder Fiston Chungu for the latest match.

However, the Knights received some good news with key attacker Mitch Herrmann back training after fears he had seriously re-injured his ankle.

Ogden is expecting more from his players on Friday night after dominating Wynnum last week without finding the net.

"That was really disappointing considering, in general terms, we were the better team,'' he said.

"We just had those silly lapses where they've gone and created those chances from our mistakes and they punished us.

"We weren't sharp enough at the top end to be honest.''

Mitchelton beat Souths United 3-1 in their previous game.

Western Pride have a bye this weekend before also having some important matches to try and keep their top four spot.

In their debut Brisbane Premier League season, Western Spirit remain stranded in 11th place with just two wins from nine games.

Spirit tackles Albany Creek away on Saturday night.

In Capital League 1, seventh-placed Ripley Valley are keen get back into the top four as the Ipswich City Bulls battle to rise from the cellar to avoid relegation.

The Bulls have just one win this season, against Ripley Valley in the first local derby.

The local derby rematch is coming up in two weeks at the South Ripley fields.

In Capital League 2, Springfield United are in fourth place with four wins, only four points out of second spot.

GAME DAY

FQPL: Friday (7.30pm) - Ipswich Knights v Mitchelton at Eric Evans Oval. Western Pride have bye.

NPLW: Sunday (6pm) - Western Pride v The Gap at Walton Bridge Reserve.

BPL: Saturday (7.10pm) - Western Spirit v Albany Creek at Albany Creek.

CL1: Tuesday, June 15 - Ipswich City v Slacks Creek at Usher Park.

CL2: Sunday (4pm) - Springfield United v Westside Groveley at Springfield Central Sports Complex.