Angus Confident Of Strikers Lift-Off

Mar 01, 2018 by

Brisbane Strikers captain Michael Angus is backing the experience and know-how of his teammates to help lift them from the foot of the NPL Queensland table after a disappointing start to the season that has seen them take just one point from their opening three games.

Strikers host Gold Coast United this Saturday with the need to grab their first three-pointer for the 2018 NPL Queensland season becoming critical. But Angus said he was not feeling any pressure and that he and his teammates knew what was required to turn things around.

“A lot of the players have been with us previously and we’ve been in the same situation so, to be honest, I don’t feel any pressure,” said Angus.

“We know the type of team that we are, we know the players that we have within the group and we know what we’re capable of. And we’ve had some big players that haven’t been available.

“We’ve just been working really hard on the training field and we’re looking forward to the next game.”

The postponement of Strikers’ scheduled game against SWQ Thunder was just one of several NPL Queensland fixtures that suffered the same fate last weekend. But league leaders Olympic FC were able to take full advantage, with their 2-1 win over Moreton Bay United takiing them to twelve points with a perfect four-from-four record.

That stretched the gap between themselves and second-from-bottom Strikers to eleven points. If Strikers are to mount a realistic defence of their premiership that gap cannot be allowed to grow any wider.

But Angus said the rain clouds that forced the postponement of the SWQ Thunder game might have had a silver lining for Strikers. Players such as attackers Rhys Meredith and Trent Clulow, who are returning from injuries and have had limited game time this season, are more likely to be fit for selection this weekend, along with last seasons’ top scorer Jeremy Stewart and new signing Brock Messenger who are yet to play for Strikers this year.

“Last weekend might have been a bit short for them, but they are likely to be in much better shape come this weekend,” Angus said.

“I guess from that point of view, that’s a good thing – to be able to give more time and opportunity for those players to be fit”.

Gold Coast United have also made a tardy start to the season. A first-up 3-1 win away to Cairns FC was followed by 2-0 losses to Brisbane Roar Youth and Redlands United, leaving them in tenth position on the ladder and struggling for both points and goals.

But the resurrected former A-League outfit is still finding its feet at NPL level and, in coach Sean Lane, has a gaffer who knows about as much as it is possible for an opposition coach to know about the Strikers’ team and modus operandi.

Lane coached Strikers to the NPL Queensland premiership last year and, prior to that as coach of Strikers’ youth and junior teams, was mentor to many of the younger players now breaking into the Strikers’ senior squad.

But while Angus acknowledged Lane would have his team schooled extensively in what Strikers have to offer, he insisted the Strikers’ camp also knew what to expect from their opponents.

“The management’s done their analysis on Gold Coast from previous games and there are some players there that are previous Strikers players,” said Angus, in reference to goalkeeper Zac Speedy, attackers Fraser Eller, Alistair Davis and Lachlan Reus and defender Sam Johnson.

“I understand that they’ve got some strong new signings as well. But we know them and management’s done their analysis of them and that’s been passed on to the squad. So really, now it’s just about preparing in the right way.

“We know it’s going to be a really tough game. There’s one thing that Laney does and that’s get the team raring to go for a game day. He loves the competition and no doubt he’ll be in that other change room telling them all about the types of players that we are, and things like that.

“We understand that, but we know we’re up for it and we’ll see what happens.”

NPL Queensland Round 5: Brisbane Strikers FC v Gold Coast United FC, Saturday 3 March, Perry Park. Kick-off at 6.00 pm. Under-13s and Under-14s games kick off at 2.15 pm and 3.45 pm respectively.

Photo: Albert Perez

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