Pride prepares for PNG match
A CLASH with Papua New Guinea, a handy addition and a shared arrangement with Lions.
Western Pride have been busy preparing for tomorrow's National Premier Leagues match before tackling the PNG national side in Ipswich on Wednesday night.
After tomorrow's encounter with South West Queensland, Pride will welcome PNG to the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
The international team is preparing for the Pacific Games and Olympic qualifiers in July.
"We're more than happy to accommodate an international match,'' Pride head coach Karl Dodd said.
"It's just a good opportunity to play an international team. It gives our players some experience.
"These opportunities are pretty rare.''
Dodd ran an extra training session through the week at Pride's Flinders View base.
He wanted to keep his players focused after last weekend's 5-2 loss to Olympic and to be ready for the PNG encounter.
Against Olympic, Pride had countless chances in the first half to score, something Dodd has been using as a positive.
"They started off really well and we just didn't take those opportunities,'' Dodd said.
"That scoreline could have so easy been the other way.
"It's a harsh lesson for us to learn because we did so well in the first half. It was just those mental lapses and the quality that they (Olympic) had just cost us.
"The younger boys just have to keep working hard and learn their craft and they will get to that level.''
The Pride squad has also been strengthened by the transfer of former Ipswich Knights player Mitch Bird from Redlands United.
English-born Bird played for the Knights in the Brisbane Premier League before switching to Redlands this season.
The personal trainer was previously with Lions and North Star after leaving England when he was 12.
"He fits into the mould of what we're trying to do,'' Dodd said of Bird. "A local talent come back.''
Bird was signed as Dodd released Pride player Jason Pillay to Lions under a gentleman's agreement to give him more game time.
Pillay will continue to train with Pride when not with BPL club Lions.
Securing Bird is also a boost for Pride with senior striker Peter Drager out for an expected six weeks with a PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) knee injury.
In tomorrow's match, the Pride players will wear black arm bands as a mark of respect for former Ipswich United coach Matt Carson.
All Pride teams have been requested to do the same in their weekend matches.
A minute's silence will also be observed at the start of the NPL games.
Tour match: Wednesday night (7.30pm) - Western Pride v Papua New Guinea national team at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
- NPL: Tomorrow (4pm) - Western Pride v South West Queensland in Toowoomba.
- BPL: Tomorrow (3.15pm) - Ipswich Knights v Easts at Eric Evans Oval, Bundamba. Reserves play at 1pm.
- CL2: Tonight (6pm) - Western Spirit v The Gap at Walton Bridge Reserve. 7pm: Ipswich City v Westside at Sutton Park, Brassall.
- FFA Cup sixth round: Thursday night (7.15pm) - Ipswich Knights v Redlands at Cleveland Showgrounds.