This Time We’re Up For A Cup Battle: Baker

Apr 09, 2018 by

Brisbane Strikers senior coach, Owen Baker, says the Brisbane Strikers are ready for the challenge of FFA Cup football away to Brisbane Premier League club Albany Creek Excelsior at Wolter Park on Tuesday night.

Baker said the players had recovered well from the exertions of Saturday’s come-from-behind win over Brisbane City in their Round 9 NPL Queensland fixture and have their minds on the job at hand.

“The boys came in and trained well tonight and looked in a good place,” Baker said. “We’ve moved on from Saturday. Although it was a tough game, we know how important tomorrow’s game is as well.

“The squad has got ambitions to go a long way in the Cup, but we have to take one game at a time and we know tomorrow night’s not going to be an easy game.”

Baker said he and football manager David Large had scouted their Cup opponents and were expecting a good footballing battle.

“They (Albany Creek) have had a good start in their season and (coach) Steve Glockner has obviously got experience in playing Cup games against us from his time at Easts,” Baker said.

“So we know they will be a well organised team. Largie and I have done our homework and we’ve been to watch them play.

“They’re a nice footballing team with lots of energy and lots of players than can run with the ball, so our approach has to be nothing but one-hundred percent focused and professional.”

Glockner will probably have vivid memories of one Strikers player in particular from the night his Eastern Suburbs team went down 2-0 to Strikers at the same stage of the qualifiers in 2016.

Easts were good value in the first half that night before Strikers fullback Hiroki Omori (pictured) tore them apart in the second half, scoring both goals in Strikers’ win.

Omori will be back to face Glockner’s team again tomorrow night and can probably expect some close attention.

Baker said that, should the game follow a script typical of cup ties and turn rugged, he had no doubt Strikers could match it with their opponents. While this hadn’t always been the case in the past at a club that places a higher emphasis on the technical side of the game, Baker said believes the current Strikers squad has wised up.

“The boys have had a good amount of exposure to physical games over the last few years and we’ve learnt a lot lessons on how to counteract that, while still believing in what we are doing and how we play,” he said.

The task ahead of the Strikers, on face value at least, looks similar to that of their opening (and closing) FFA Cup tie of last year when Rochedale Rovers dumped them out of the Cup in a 3-1 upset.

Like Rovers were last year, Albany Creek are in good form in the Brisbane Premier League and are currently in second position in their competition. Strikers must go to the opposition’s home ground, stare down the challenges posed by their conditions, their players and supporters and earn the right to let their football do the talking.

They can have no better competitor in their lineup for that task than titanium-plated defender Greig Henslee, who relishes exactly this kind of challenge.
Henslee suggested that memories of the bitter disappointment of crashing out at the first FFA Cup hurdle last year to Rochedale would spur himself and his team mates on to a big performance against Albany Creek.

“We’ve got a good record in the FFA Cup – three successes out of four – but last year was a disappointment,” Henslee said.

“It’s vitally important that we get on the national stage. The club demands that we get on the national stage and there’s two ways of doing that – the FFA Cup and winning the league.

“They are the two main objectives for the year, so we’ll just have to treat Tuesday as another cup final.”

Strikers will be boosted by the return of star attacking midfielder Michael Lee.

The ball-playing midfielder with a penchant for the unpredictable has been unavailable for Strikers’ last two NPL Queensland fixtures after injuring his back in the 2-1 win over Redlands United at Cleveland three weeks ago.

But Baker said Lee was now ready to make his return.

“Leesy trained tonight and we expect him to be involved tomorrow,” Baker said.

FFA Cup Preliminary Round 4: Albany Creek Excelsior v Brisbane Strikers, Wolter Park, Tuesday 10 April, 7.30 pm.

Photo: Roze Gallo

Match Previews, News

About the author

Marketing Brisbane Strikers