Brenda Strong

Spirit brace for must-win local derby

WESTERN Spirit head coach Matt Raub knows the importance of local derbies having been a player during a previous stint with the club.

So he's hoping Kippen Park is dry enough to allow another exciting football contest between Spirit and the Ipswich City Bulls on Friday night.

The Spirit players were unable to train on Tuesday night due to rain and the Goodna playing surface had some wet areas this week.

"We'll have to see how we go,'' Raub said, preparing for the second derby of the Capital League 2 season.

Spirit won the opening game at City's Sutton Park base, setting up another fascinating battle in the 8.30pm main game.

That is particularly the case with Spirit in sixth place and the Bulls having climbed to third after winning last Saturday night's catch-up game against Annerley.

"We have to win,'' Raub said. "If we do lose our season is nearly over.''

Spirit won its previous match 4-0 over Oxley before the mid-season break.

"I would like to have played last weekend (like Ipswich City),'' he said. "But we're looking pretty good at the moment. Everyone is coming back from injuries.''

Raub has been most pleased with Spirit's defensive effort this season only conceding 19 goals.

That's the third best in the league, built around goalkeeper Chris Morrall and centre back Michael Wybranowski, who played 13 and 12 matches respectively.

Captain Mauricio Arena has also lined up in 13 games, being the team's top goal scorer with nine.

"He just gets his job done,'' the coach said.

Midfielders Kurtis Walters and Travis Walters have stepped up in recent weeks.

In other matches on Friday night, Western Pride tackle Brisbane Olympic at Goodwin Park after their National Premier Leagues competition break.

The Ipswich Knights are looking to finish the second half of the season strongly, when they play Mitchelton at Teralba Park on Friday night.

Game day

NPL: Friday (8.30pm) - Western Pride v Brisbane Olympic at Goodwin Park.

BPL: Friday (8.30pm) - Ipswich Knights v Mitchelton at Teralba Park.

CL2: Friday - local derby: Western Spirit v Ipswich City at Kippen Park, Goodna. Games at 6.30pm and 8.30pm.

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