Strong Start Key Against Gold Coast

Jun 22, 2018 by

Head coach Owen Baker says Brisbane Strikers will look to assert themselves from the opening whistle against Gold Coast United this weekend.

Fresh off a confidence boosting away win over SWQ Thunder last weekend, Strikers are eyeing another crucial three points on the road when they travel to the Robina Station Reserve on Saturday night.

Currently five points outside the NPL Queensland top four, Strikers must overturn a less-than-stellar record on the Gold Coast in NPL matches – winning just once in six previous trips to the Glitter Strip since 2013.

To that end, Baker has stressed the importance of his side dictating the contest from the get-go against a United outfit that has proved consistently inconsistent this season.

“Preparing for a team like Gold Coast is knowing what you want to do and then doing it,” Baker explained.

“They have had the most unstable squad of any team all year – and that’s to be expected from a first-year club – but you have to be on your guard and still make sure you turn up.”

Strikers won the previous meeting between the sides 4-2 at Perry Park in March on the back of a three-goal first half.

Baker said making sure his side convert early goal-scoring opportunities could once again prove decisive.

“We want to be more clinical in the first twenty to thirty minutes of the game,” he said.

“In the last five games we have played, we have created chances early on but then we have gone behind – last week against Thunder was the first time we were able to get back from that.”

“We want to start the game well, get on the front foot, and see if we can get a goal early to build from there.”

Key to that approach are recent tactical tweaks to the Strikers’ formation that have been building on the training pitch and were unleashed on Thunder last weekend.

“We saw straight away some really good signs but, like any formation change, things still need improving and time will fix those things.”

“It has helped some of our key players get into the game a bit more and it is certainly something we will keep working on.”

Strikers will be boosted for the match by the likely return of midfielder Michael Angus as well as goalkeeper Nathan Archbold’s return from suspension.

Baker also said attacking utility Greg Cheshire, who played with the Youth team last week, is nearing a return from the anterior cruciate ligament injury that has hampered his season.

“It’s great to have players coming back. It adds competition for places, it adds depth and that can only help as we look to build momentum in coming weeks,” Baker concluded.

United, who are guided by former Strikers coach Sean Lane, head into the match on the back of a two-game losing run and have won just twice at their home ground this season.

NPL Queensland
Gold Coast United v Brisbane Strikers
Saturday, June 23 | 6:00PM
Robina Station Reserve, Gold Coast

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