Ipswich Knights head coach Stewart Drinkeld.
Ipswich Knights head coach Stewart Drinkeld. Rob Williams

Ipswich Knights motivated by chance to play A-League team

IF the Ipswich Knights can manufacture another 91st minute winner tonight, they will be one victory away from playing an A-League side.

After the amazing last-gasp goal Lucas Wilson scored in the Knights' previous FFA Cup national competition match, anything is possible.

That is the approach Knights head coach Stewart Drinkeld is adopting preparing for the FFA Cup sixth round clash with Redlands United at Cleveland Showgrounds.

The winner of the match will play National Premier League team Strikers next week. The victor of that encounter we progress into the major stage of the Australian knockout series.

"We've got nothing to lose. We are the underdogs,'' Drinkeld said assessing his troops after a tough run of injuries in recent weeks.

Among those being monitored are captain Chris Butler (calf/back) and midfielder Dan Liddy (ankle), who Drinkeld rates 50/50 chances.

Goalkeeper Zayne Freiberg is also in doubt and attacking recruit Patrick O'Brien is suspended.

In another untimely setback, defender Lachlan Bond rolled his ankle going for a run and could be out for a month.

However, the Knights welcome back experienced utility Ben Hunt and powerful defender Devon Munn for tonight's clash.

While conceding the Knights have a tough task, Drinkeld revealed he has a strategy after watching recent video of tonight's National Premier Leagues opponents.

"I've got a few things I like to keep close to my chest in regards to the tactical things we are going to try and do,'' the former Premier League player said.

"They are an exceptional side and every single (Knights) player will need to be on their game.''

Knights tackle Redlands tonight after being unlucky not to at least salvage a draw in last Sunday's Brisbane Premier League clash with Easts at Bundamba.

Two late goals denied the patched-up Knights any reward for their efforts.

"I thought we were very solid for 80 minutes,'' Drinkeld said.

"It was probably the most possession that we've had during the course of the whole season.

"A lapse of concentration caused the first goal and when we tried to equalise, they got their second goal on a break.

"I was happy with the performance but I was disappointed with the result.''

One the Knights' biggest strengths is their tenacity, a quality they called upon in their 1-0 victory over Western Pride in their previous FFA Cup clash.

While Pride had faster and younger players, the more seasoned Knights toiled until the end. That's when Wilson took on the defence and scored the winner.

Drinkeld hopes his team can reproduce something special at Cleveland tonight.

"The longer we hang in there, the better chances we'll create,'' he said.

"We struggled against Pride in that first half but we hung in there and came over the top at the end of the game.

"We'll put a few tactical things in place and see if we can frustrate them a little bit during the course of the game. And hopefully score a 91st minute winner again.''

If that happens, the Knights will face Brisbane Strikers in the next round after the NPL side beat Moreton Bay United 2-1 in their sixth round clash.

Game Day

Tonight (7.15pm): FFA Cup sixth round - Ipswich Knights v Redlands United at Cleveland Showgrounds.


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