Phoebi Clissold in action for GCU Women (Sportspics)
After an enforced break due to last weekend’s postponement, United are fresh ahead of their Rd 21 clash with competition front runners The Gap.
The Women go into this one in solid recent form, three successive wins prior to the washout. The hosts boast an even more impressive recent run of form, seven wins on the trot, amassing 53 goals in those games and conceding just the once – uber impressive stats.
Coach Michael Cook believes the break may work in his side’s favour.
“The players come into this week refreshed and full of energy.
“The team had their best training sessions of the season so far on Monday and Tuesday nights. The quality and intensity has been top class which is also a result of the confidence a winning run can have on a group of young players.”
The break has also provided some extra time for several players overcoming injury to regain some much needed condition and confidence.
Attacker Dee Thompson looks set for a long awaited return and experienced defender Joy Forsyth has overcome a leg complaint and will stiffen up the defensive line with her aggressive approach. Young fullback Kimberly Shrimpton is also a chance of playing some part in the match.
Cook welcomes the likely return of the trio, a timely boost for his squad.
“We’re starting to get some important players back from injury now and it’s great to have some more depth coming into the final third of the season.”
Asked about what is required by his squad to match it against the league leaders, Cook is confident that his young squad is set for a strong performance.
“Tactically we are familiar with how to exploit the Gap’s playing style and in order to do that we only have to make minor adjustments to our own processes.
“I am sure we will perform at a very high level Saturday night.”
United will once again look to the guile and nous of Mackenzie Akins up front in combination with the silky skills of Reiri Ono to unlock the frugal Gap defence – the hosts have conceded only 18 goals in their 19 matches this season, the lowest in the league. An injection of pace from Thompson could be a key to the Coast’s chances to unsettle the Gap at the back.
The Coast will need to be at their best in their own third too, to repel the many dangers the Gap possess. Tiarne Petterwood (32 goals) & Greta Bodey (26 goals) loom as the two main threats.
In the Rd 8 meeting between the two clubs Gold Coast pushed the Gap to the absolute end, falling just short with the league heavyweight’s showing resolve and scoring in the 93rd minute to record a 4-3 win.
Kick-off at Walton Bridge Reserve is at 6pm.
If you can’t make it to the match, half and full time updates will be added as comments on the Team List post on Facebook.