Western Pride head coach Terry Kirkham is busy trying to strengthen his senior men's team while restructuring his club set-up at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
Western Pride head coach Terry Kirkham is busy trying to strengthen his senior men's team while restructuring his club set-up at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex. Rob Williams

See the fresh football approach Western Pride is taking

FOOTBALL: As someone always working hard behind the scenes, Western Pride head coach Terry Kirkham deserves a change of fortune this season.

He hopes that comes with a major team rebuild and some positive changes around the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.

Although his senior team has struggled to gain points in recent National Premier Leagues matches, Pride are still alive in the national FFA Cup knockout series.

Pride head to the Gold Coast on Saturday for their latest Cup challenge against Burleigh before preparing for their next NPL clash against Brisbane City on Tuesday night.

After a tough run of results in the NPL, Kirkham is pleased with some major player changes this week.

While losing visa player Patrick Izett (released) and Feli Sheriff (Melbourne), Kirkham has recruited some exciting young overseas players to work with his core group and promising Ipswich-bred footballers moving up the ranks.

"We need to freshen the place up,'' Kirkham said, preparing for Saturday's 3pm FFA Cup at Pizzey Park.

"The boys that have left, while they have been great for us, were signed to score goals and both haven't.

"We are looking to strengthen . . . get some experienced players. But also too there are some players coming through our system that, in the last 12-15 weeks, have developed really, really well.''

They include Ipswich talents Jacob Advaney, Jarrod Hyslop, Josh Wilson and Aidan Norris in taking the club forward.

Wilson has become an established player in recent weeks.

Attacking midfielder Advaney and inaugural club junior Hyslop have been playing important roles.

Among the new recruits are Vietnamese defender Son Blues and Korean centre midfielder Sarang Shim, who have been playing in Pride's under-20 side in recent games.

They are expected to start in Saturday's FFA Cup match after impressing Kirkham.

The head coach is also pleased to see 2017 grand final-winning goalkeeper Max Davison returning from major injury. Davison will play in Pride's next under-20 match alongside another defender Chris Anderson, who is also on the comeback trail.


Western Pride defender Nielen Brown works hard to keep the Noosa Lions player under control during the FFA Cup match at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
Senior Western Pride player Nielen Brown is moving back into a more familiar striking role. Chris Simpson

In another key switch, Kirkham has moved defender Nielen Brown back into his more familiar number nine striking role where the senior player enjoyed success in recent seasons.

Brown gets a chance to reunite with striking weapon Alex Parsons up front.

That will be important with energetic attacker Mitch Bird likely to be sidelined for 6-8 weeks with a broken toe.

"This week has been massive dealing with probably nine new potential players,'' he said.

"I'm looking to build a squad that's going to take us through to the next three, four, five years.''

In his first year as Pride head coach, Kirkham has also been busy restructuring his set-up.

He's introduced a fun court hearing for his players, along with enhancing social aspects through a newly-named "Darryl's Bar'' in the function room.

Kirkham has set up a new office and organised a large container for extra equipment to enhance Pride's professionalism. While continuing that, he was also researching Burleigh and Brisbane City.

Pride's next NPL away match was rescheduled to Tuesday night due to Saturday's FFA Cup encounter.

FFA Cup: Saturday (3pm) - Western Pride v Burleigh at Pizzey Park, Gold Coast.