KEEN TO HELP: Ultra Tune Ipswich manager Luke Slater is hoping to fine-tune his football coaching skills in future seasons.
KEEN TO HELP: Ultra Tune Ipswich manager Luke Slater is hoping to fine-tune his football coaching skills in future seasons. Claudia Baxter

Coach has the Bulls revving up

UTILITY player Luke Slater still enjoys having a run with the Ipswich City Bulls in Reserve grade.

However, it's been in coaching where he's faced his biggest football challenge this season.

In his first year as Bulls Reserve grade mentor, Slater was a concerned newcomer after his team lost its first four matches.

However, with only three games left in the regular season, the Bulls have recovered well to still be in finals contention.

They are in fifth place, just two points outside the top four with a superior goal average over fourth-placed Kangaroo Point.

"I sort of thought about coaching for a few years and you probably think it's easy when you are playing," Slater said.

"It's tough but it's good. I enjoy it."

Former top grader Slater, 30, has also helped out on the field in 13 Reggies games this season.

He's appreciated the assistance of Bulls Old Boy and former coach Trent Abel who has helped the team and the goalkeepers in particular.

Preparing to tackle 10th placed Oxley United at Sutton Park today, Slater said his team had plenty to play for.

"It's up to us," he said, knowing the Bulls also have to face Kangaroo Point and third-placed Newmarket in their latest season finals quest.

"It's switch on, don't want to concede a single goal really until finals."

The Bulls' biggest win this season was a 10-2 victory over Slacks Creek. They also beat Samford Rangers 9-1 last month.

One of their best results was a 5-0 win over finals contenders Newmarket in May.

Slater has seen about 30 players come through his Reserve grade squad this season. However, the Ultra Tune Ipswich manager is pleased to have a number of experienced Bulls campaigners to work with.

That includes captain Chris Heider, who at centre back has a strong combination with other former A-graders Richie Fancourt and Nathan Manttan.

The Bulls also have seasoned performers like Nick Paterson and Matt Grassick, who has scored 17 goals this season.

Slater has been impressed with centre midfielder Dale Mcgeown, who has stepped up, being with the club for three years.

"We've got a pretty good squad this year," Slater said, keen to coach next season and improve his qualifications.

"I enjoy looking at games and reading what coaches do with the team and how you can change a game and stuff like that."

The Bulls top side tackles Oxley United in tonight's 7pm clash at Sutton Park.

In the other Capital League 2 games today, Western Spirit host Slacks Creek.

The Reserves play in the 4pm game at Kippen Park, with the top side kicking off at 6pm.

Both teams are out of finals contention.

Other regional teams are away this weekend with the Ipswich Knights travelling to Lions for tomorrow's must-win Brisbane Premier League and Reserve grade clashes.

Western Pride tackles Brisbane Strikers at Perry Park tomorrow, keen to win their fifth National Premier League match of the season.

Game day

National Premier League: Tomorrow (2pm) - Western Pride v Brisbane Strikers at Perry Park.

Brisbane Premier League: Tomorrow (4pm) - Ipswich Knights v Lions at Lions Stadium. Reserves game at 1.45pm.

Capital League 2: Tonight (6pm) - Western Spirit v Slacks Creek at Kippen Park, Goodna. Reserves at 4pm. 7pm: Ipswich City v Oxley United at Sutton Park, Brassall. Reserves at 5pm.

SEQ Women's Premier League: Tomorrow (6pm): Western Pride v Souths United at Wakerley Park.

Brisbane Women's Premier League: Tonight (6pm) - Ipswich Knights v UQFC at Eric Evans Reserve.

Important community day: Western Pride Football Club is hosting a Yellow Hearts Day next Saturday at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex with all proceeds going to the children of Allison Baden-Clay. Full details in next week's QT.

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