Pride going on attack in bid to join NPL scramble
AS strange as it may sound, Western Pride are just three wins away from joining the mid-table scramble in this year's National Premier Leagues state competition.
However, to rise quickly from the bottom to a safer position this season starts against Easts in Sunday night's latest clash at Heath Park.
Former Queensland Premier League side Easts are the first in a series of mid-table teams Pride will tackle as they look to escape the dreaded relegation zone.
Despite some mixed recent performances, Pride head coach Terry Kirkham was confident his side could beat their latest opponents buoyed by an improved showing against Lions and the return of exciting young striker Alex Parsons.
Pride stunned Lions with an early goal on Easter Monday before a couple of lapses proved costly.
At the same time, Pride continued their recent trend of setting up promising attack without going on with the job.
Experienced mentor Kirkham is accurately aware of Pride's predicament, toiling hard against Lions after a disappointing 5-0 loss to Moreton Bay United.
"Against Lions, we competed again with them and we just didn't finish our chances,'' he said.
"When you look at the tape, we've made two bad errors that cost us goals and both were in the first half.''
He said the top six teams don't make those mistakes.
Similarly, Pride players have been creating as many chances, if not more, than their opponents without sealing the deal in recent weeks.
Kirkham said there was probably 25 goals lost from missing the target, shooting at the goalkeeper or spraying the ball over the bar.
"When you put both of them together (costly mistakes and missed opportunities), you'd be right up there (on the ladder),'' he said.
Easts are a suburban side with a solid experienced base. However, Kirkham is showing faith his young side can make up for any lack of experience with extra enthusiasm.
"Individually we have to improve,'' he said.
"In the midfield and everything, we're tackling well, we're creating. We're not having teams play through us too often.''
He's hopeful the return of Parsons from an ankle injury and some fine-tuning of Feli Sheriff's attack timing will give Pride more goal-scoring prowess this weekend.
"Alex Parsons is now 100 percent right so he'll start,'' Kirkham said.
"Feli Sheriff has scored two goals in two games, which is good news because that's his job. And last night in a training game, he scored another two goals.''
However, centre back Nielen Brown is in doubt with a calf strain.
Captain Cam Crestani will be sidelined for four-six weeks after having arthroscopic surgery on his knee.
Kirkham is keen to see defender Chris Anderson return soon. He's been recovering from a knee injury for three weeks.
Meanwhile, Pride's next FFA Cup is set down for May 4 against Burleigh at Pizzey Park on the Gold Coast.
NPL: Sunday (6.30pm) - Western Pride v Easts at Heath Park.
NPL women: Saturday (4pm) - Western Pride v Gold Coast United at Tallebudgera.