Olympic to test Pride resolve after difficult week
WESTERN Pride have started their 2019 National Premier Leagues campaign with consecutive home defeats, and the going does not get much easier in round three.
Recently appointed head coach Terry Kirkham will take charge for his first official game at the helm when Pride travel to Goodwin Park tomorrow to face 2018 grand finalists Olympic FC.
"It's a good challenge,” Kirkham said of the impending Olympic clash.
Kirkham was this week brought on as Pride's official head coach, after previous manager Sergio Raimundo was forced to step away from the role due to issues surrounding his visa.
Thankfully, Pride already had a man in place with extensive NPL experience to step into the vacated role.
Kirkham knows Queensland football like the back of his hand. And he knows tomorrow's match will be a tough one.
"We've got a big job to do against Olympic,” he said.
"They will be the benchmark side this year I believe, with Lions, Peninsula and Brisbane City - I would say they will be the top four.”
Compounding concerns for Kirkham is the growing injury list within an already thin senior squad.
Left back Delors Tuyishime played in last weekend's 3-2 defeat to Gold Coast Knights, but suffered "a ligament problem” and could be out for up to six weeks according to his coach.
Skipper Cameron Crestani also required an early substitution against the South Coast side as he struggled with groin soreness.
Kirkham said the team was paying for not playing at a higher tempo in pre-season. He believes the opening two matches against strong opponents in Roar Youth and Knights brought with them a tempo the players were not ready to match.
"You can see now that from the pre-season, where we didn't play any high tempo games, we've now come into the first two games and played two fit, strong sides and we're now carrying injuries,” he said.
"The reality is we are six to eight weeks behind. (But) we'll get fitter and sharper. I believe in six weeks we will be back to where the team was last year.”
NPL Round 3
Tomorrow (6pm) - Western Pride FC v Olympic FC at Goodwin Park
Women want win at Wolter Park
The Pride's NPL Women's team open their campaign tomorrow, when they travel to face competition heavyweights Souths United Wolter Park.
After a promising showing in pre-season, the Pride's credentials will be tested against the perennial NPLW finalists.
NPLW Round 1
Tomorrow (6pm) - Western Pride FC v Souths United at Wolter Park