What a duel: Pride, passion and Knights on attack
WESTERN Pride head coach Brian Hastings was still exploring his goalkeeping options preparing for Friday night's hotly-anticipated local derby against the Ipswich Knights.
After having to field young goalkeeper Ashton Bonsall in the net with his two frontliners out, Hastings was looking for a more experienced shot-stopper.
"We'll make that decision tonight,'' Hastings said.
Under the circumstances, Bonsall did his job against a Souths United team keen to exploit the teenager's inexperience in last weekend's Football Queensland Premier League 1 encounter.
"He (Bonsall) will be on the bench for sure but he may still be guarding the goal,'' Hastings said.
Hastings was planning other positional changes to strengthen his team's defence.
He was eager to have captain Killian Flavin back for an extended period after he was unwell and only had limited time in the second half of last weekend's 3-2 loss to Souths United.
"He trained all week so he'll be bring that stability back to the midfield,'' Hastings said.
Hastings was also looking to move his athletic son Mikhail from a striking, target man role to a defensive mission against the threatening Knights.
"He's technically very good for a guy that tall,'' the coach said.
"You will be able to see a lot more from him at number six. He's got a very good passing game.
"We should be okay with him there.''
Newcomer Noah Humphreys from Mitchelton is expected to come off the bench, offering more variety.
As he planned to finalise his strategy at training, Hastings said Friday night's match would be mentally different being a local derby.
"The (Pride) players are still going to be playing the brand of football we want,'' Hastings said.
"The Knights are coming off a really bad loss so they will be up for it.
"There could be a little bit of passion in the game.''
Former Western Pride goal scoring ace Darryl "Buddha'' Barton is now with the Ipswich Knights.
Piper brothers Ben (Pride) and Nick (Knights) will be on opposing teams, adding some family interest.
Both teams are on nine points, vying to remain in the top four.
"Tomorrow I think will be about the badge,'' Hastings said. "We'll see what happens there.''
Ipswich Knights coach Andy Ogden sympathised with Hastings losing two goalkeepers at once and having to find a suitable replacement.
"I don't wish anyone bad luck in regard to injuries and things like that and especially a goalkeeper,'' Ogden said. "It makes it really, really tough.''
However, Ogden had no major concerns, also to finalise his squad after tonight's training.
"As far as I know, everyone's fit and available,'' he said.
"As I said on Tuesday to the boys, I've just got a feeling this is going to be a different derby than the last couple of years.
"I think it's going to be a lot more serious and a lot more competitive.
"I think it's going to be a one-goaler and we're going to need all our squad to contribute.
"It's going to be good.''
The Ipswich Knights have added incentive to lift coming off a 5-1 loss to Rochedale Rovers last weekend.
In other regional team home games this weekend, the Ipswich City Bulls and Ripley Valley both host Capital League 1 visiting teams on Saturday night.
Second placed Capital League 2 side Springfield United play Bardon Latrobe at Springfield Central Sports Complex after a week off.
The Western Pride women are also playing at their home base, tackling the Sunshine Coast Wanderers on Sunday afternoon.
FQPL1: Friday (7.30pm) - Ipswich Knights v Western Pride at Eric Evans Oval, Bundamba.
NPLW: Sunday (4pm) - Western Pride v Sunshine Coast Wanderers at Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
BPL: Saturday (6pm) - Western Spirit v Bayside United at Don Randall Oval.
CL1: Saturday (5pm) - Ipswich City Bulls v Logan Metro at Sutton Park, Brassall; Ripley Valley v Newmarket at Ironbark Park, South Ripley.
CL2: Sunday (4pm) - Springfield United v Bardon Latrobe at Springfield Central Sports Complex.