Why Ipswich's football Pride on the line
AFTER three narrow National Premier Leagues defeats, Western Pride coach Terry Kirkham has rejected any suggestion his new-look team needs to be patient.
His focus is entirely on victory, planning a goal-mouth onslaught when Pride host the Magpies Crusaders from Mackay at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex on Saturday night.
"We'll line up this Saturday night very attacking because we are playing at home,'' Kirkham said.
During early season losses to Brisbane Roar (3-1), Gold Coast Knights (3-2) and Olympic (3-2), recently appointed mentor Kirkham has seen enough to suggest Pride can secure a breakthrough win.
Leading at halftime, including against powerhouse opponents Olympic last Sunday night, Pride have threatened to match the top sides, as they have the past two seasons.
However, losing a core of seasoned footballers in the off-season has tested Pride's ability to close out games.
"At the moment, we are inexperienced but also we are not match conditioned,'' he said.
"While we are going to work on all that, we are still going to work every week to believe that the results are what we need. And I'm sure those results are going to come.
"We've progressed every week the last three weeks and hopefully we're working towards getting things right for Saturday night.''
With relegation in place this season, experienced mentor Kirkham said the new Pride players had to learn quickly.
"The biggest thing for us is it's been a big transition and we're trying to gel a new squad and a very inexperienced squad,'' he said. "Once we get them understanding how we need to play a lot more, we are going to be far better off.''
He said being semi-professional footballers, his players had to put extra emphasis on success for the club, sponsors and fans.
"We will go out every week to benchmark ourselves on the best in the league and we expect to get results,'' he said.
Kirkham said having Pride goalkeeper Max Davison named in the NPL team of the week was a timely lift.
"It's not only for Max, it's for all the boys really,'' he said. "And very positive for him.''
Davison has come back strongly after suffering a nasty leg injury guarding his goal line against the Brisbane Roar Youth team late last season.
"He (Davison) is working very hard,'' Kirkham said.
"There is a little bit of knee soreness at the moment but I think that's expected.''
Kirkham said having players like Davison recognised highlighted again that everyone in the NPL was being watched.
"That's a good thing as well,'' the coach said.
The Western Pride women play Lions in Saturday's 5pm match at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
The Pride women are coming off a first round 9-0 loss to Souths United.
In other football news, former Ipswich City Bulls player and current Brisbane Roar sharpshooter Allira Toby has been invited to train with the Australian Matildas squad.
She will join incoming Matildas coach Ante Milicic's squad ahead of the Cup of Nations.
Toby was absent from the initial 23-player list. However, she will link with the squad when they arrive in Brisbane ahead of the March 3 clash with Korea Republic at Suncorp Stadium.
Toby played 12 matches and scored five goals for the Roar in the just completed W-League season.
NPL: Saturday (7pm) - Western Pride v Magpies Crusaders.
NPL women: Saturday (5pm) - Western Pride v Lions.
NPL U18 women: Saturday (3pm): Western Pride v Lions.
All matches at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.