Terry Kirkham says his experience in the NPL will hold the team in good stead after he took over as coach of Western Pride.
Terry Kirkham says his experience in the NPL will hold the team in good stead after he took over as coach of Western Pride. Contributed

Pride make coaching change two games into season

INCOMING Western Pride coach Terry Kirkham has put winning NPL matches at the top of his list of priorities as the experienced Queensland football coach goes about incorporating his own modus operandi into the Ipswich club's senior system.

Kirkham was fast-tracked into the head coaching role this week after previously-appointed coach Sergio Raimundo was forced to vacate his position due to issues surrounding his working visa.

Whereas Raimundo's first focus was on the development of players and giving youth a chance to make their mark in senior football, Kirkham said there needed to be a 'win-first' approach this season lest Pride find themselves in a relegation battle.

"We can talk about development all we like, but my philosophy is we have to develop players and teams to win," Kirkham said.

"We can't have excuses of going out and losing games of football saying, 'well we're a development club' and be sitting on the bottom of the league.

"Finish in the bottom three and you're going to the QPL. There's a lot of money in the QPL, and a lot of clubs that want to get into the NPL.

"There's a lot of weight now on everyone's shoulders, including the playing group to develop and get results. Results are what will count at the end of the season."

To that end, Kirkham promised the club would be actively looking to recruit players with NPL experience to fill the holes players such as Jesse Rigby, Joe Duckworth, Adam Endean and Will McFarlane left when they departed in the off-season.

"Straight away I'm replacing the experienced players we've lost," Kirkham said.

"The list we have currently is massively inexperienced. It would have to be one of the most inexperienced lists in the country.

"We need to make sure there are two, three, four players who come in to strengthen this list."

Kirkham believes his knowledge of the Queensland football landscape will be of benefit in recruitment, and help Pride turn things around after an 0-2 start to the season.

"(Raimundo) was very good at what he does, and I think the players have learnt a lot about the way things are done in Europe at a top professional level," Kirkham said.

"I'm probably across a lot more areas. Also, I have connections in this market as I'm already across the landscape of NPL football."

Pride face another tough test on Sunday, away to Olympic FC.