‘Mature’ additions to help Ipswich club young guns rise
PREPARING for Saturday's pre-season trial on home turf, Western Pride head coach Brian Hastings has every reason to be optimistic about the season ahead.
Having taken over from Andrew Catton, last year's under-20 mentor has been busy securing a group of more experienced players to help the club's talented youngsters.
The squad taking shape has been back training a few weeks.
"It's just the maturity of the boys this year compared to the developing team last year,'' Hastings said.
"We've found that technically we are little bit more aware.
"We've picked up hopefully eight new signings.
"We're also keeping some really good young boys around the group that will benefit from the older, experienced heads.''
Pride's youth-laden senior men's side enjoyed some fine results but lacked some older heads at key times in last season's Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL) competition.
With relegation introduced this year, Hastings has been searching for more established footballers to guide the under-20 brigade making steady progress.
Pride have lost last year's Japanese duo Yuta Hirayama, the season's Golden Boot winner, and Nathan Yoon to Brisbane City.
However, key signings so far include Coomera Colts captain Mark Ingerson and Italian-bred midfielder William Assante.
Ingerson will slot in at centre back.
Pride has also recruited Korean Hanjin Yoo, who played with Holland Park, and rising goalscoring threat Byron McLeod, from Peninsula Power.
The head coach is waiting for some other key additions to sign.
Hastings was also pleased to have Killian Flavin, Kelton Scriggins, Ben Piper and Rhys Webster return.
"We're looking okay at the moment,'' Hastings said, preparing for his team's 5pm trial against Broadbeach at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Saturday.
Before the March 13 FQPL kick-off, Hastings is also planning trials against Souths, Logan, South West Thunder and Surfers Paradise.
"Confidence is important to me,'' he said.
"I want the boys coming into the season with confidence.''
Hastings is planning to build a leadership group for the new season.
"I've been running around just trying to write notes on each player,'' he said.
"I've just been working on getting players physically and mentally ready.''
The FQPL men's trial game will give the newcomers a chance to gel on their home field at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
Pride's under-23 side will play on the adjacent field.
The new-look Pride women also play Broadbeach in a 7pm pre-season game at Briggs Road on Saturday.
Junior NPL trials will be played at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex from 11.30am and at the Springfield Central Sports Complex from 1pm.
Meanwhile, Western Pride have a bye in the second round of the inaugural Kappa Women's Super Cup competition.
The Ipswich Knights also have a bye under SEQ regional format.