Ipswich City Bulls football Jimmy Allison (middle) with Mark Fancourt (left) and Ronan Geoghegan.
Ipswich City Bulls football Jimmy Allison (middle) with Mark Fancourt (left) and Ronan Geoghegan. Contributed

Valuable midfielder to keep engine running in local derby

FOOTBALL: Having shared in past Ipswich City successes, Jimmy Allison enjoys added responsibility captaining the side when needed and working hard in defence.

The central midfielder and diesel mechanic is a key member of the Bulls' proverbial engine room.

But although Ipswich City have displayed patches of their best football this season, tonight's match carries extra importance.

The Bulls face Western Spirit in the rescheduled Capital League 1 local derby at Sutton Park.

Given the classic battles between the teams in past seasons, Allison hopes the Bulls' strong home crowd support helps motivate his team in its quest to keep its top three hopes alive.

"It's pretty good playing at home,'' Allison (pictured) said, "especially when the good crowd and the Reggies boys get behind you.''

Having been with the Bulls since 2014, Allison has stepped up as skipper when regular leader Mark Fancourt is away.

The Bulls are hovering just outside the top five, keen to keep pace with leaders Toowong, North Star and St George Willawong.

Spirit, meanwhile, are in 10th place, having also displayed some promising football without dominating.

The Goodna-based team need victory tonight to retain hope of issuing a challenge to the competition heavyweights.

Allison, 25, said he hadn't seen Spirit this season but was wary of former Bulls player Chris Gayle.

"We're shaping up pretty well,'' Allison said.

"We're travelling pretty well apart from those two losses to Caboolture (4-0) and North Star (6-1).

"Defensively, we're pretty sound.''

Last weekend's loss to Caboolture was with some key players, including Allison, away.

The defensive midfielder was confident the team would be close to full strength tonight, although reliable goalkeeper Brent Witney is out.

"He's been carrying an injury for a few weeks now that we've been trying to manage,'' Bulls head coach Norbert Duga said. "Unfortunately it really just needs time, so he will be out for a few weeks.''

While that's less than ideal, Norbert has faith in Dean Stenzel, who has stepped up and performed strongly for the Bulls in past seasons.

The other Bulls regular missing tonight is Joel Munn, who is on his honeymoon.

"Everyone is up for it, everyone knows the importance of the game and the importance of getting a result,'' Duga said.

"Last week is done and dusted. We need to think about tomorrow night and then worry about Tuesday after that.''

The Bulls face Peninsula Power in the next stage of the FFA Cup competition four days after tonight's derby.

"I don't know too much about Spirit,'' Duga said.

"I haven't really been concentrating on other results but it seems like anyone can beat anyone this season.

"We have some tough games coming up in the next three weeks so it's vital that we get the three points on Friday night.''

Spirit head coach Matt Raub was unavailable.

The Bulls-Spirit Reserve Grade clash should also provide plenty of interest with both teams still in the hunt for top three spots.

Game day

CL1 local derby: Tonight (8.30pm) - Ipswich City v Western Spirit at Sutton Park, Brassall.

Reserves game at 6.30pm.