PLAYER TO WATCH: Western Pride defender Kelton Scriggins makes a break in last weekend's NPL match against Redlands United at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Western Pride defender Kelton Scriggins makes a break in last weekend's NPL match against Redlands United at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex. Chris Simpson

Why Pride's hat-trick bid has extra importance

FOOTBALL: "We're playing the bottom three teams. We need to put them away''.

With those apt words, Western Pride coach Terry Kirkham knows beating Sunshine Coast on Sunday is important in his team's National Premier Leagues progress.

Consecutive wins over South West Thunder (4-2) and Redlands United (1-0) last weekend, lifted Pride away from the relegation zone for the immediate future.

However, with Sunshine Coast Fire languishing near the bottom, Pride need victory at Kawana on Sunday afternoon to continue their mini revival following four early losses.

Kirkham was pleased with the Pride defensive commitment shown in last Saturday night's gritty win at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.

However, he's banking on a recovery week of training to help his players secure a third straight win.

"We've had what we call a download week,'' Kirkham said, happy to have a Sunday match at this stage of the season.

"We've trained at a growing intensity for the last five-six weeks and now this is our download week.

"We've had early sessions.

"We've finished our sessions a lot shorter this week.

"This Sunday game gives us an extra day of recovery, which is good.''

With Pride's under 20s also winning on Monday night, Kirkham said the senior squad was making up valuable conditioning ground lost due to a disjointed pre-season.

"It's building in blocks really,'' he said.

"So you're seeing now the fruits of what we're doing with this group of 23-25.''

However, being around the NPL for a number of years, Kirkham wants Pride to show Sunshine Coast plenty of respect.

"They are a very side that have attracted young players all the time for probably the last four years,'' he said.

"You can't underestimate them now. They're certainly very dangerous in the first 30 minutes.''

While Sunshine Coast have a stock of youth, so does Pride.

Among the new Pride players Kirkham rates highly are defender Kelton Scriggins, who can play either right or left back.

"Kelton would have to be in the top three best fullbacks in the league at 20 years of age,'' Kirkham said of the former Southside Eagles player.

"He's probably the most underrated player in the league and probably one of the most unknown players in the league.''

Sunday's NPL match is scheduled for 4pm.

A third straight win has added importance as Pride prepare to play early competition leaders Peninsula Power and then the reputable Gold Coast United.

"We've got the bottom teams in a row now we've got two or three of the top teams in a row,'' he said.

The Western Pride women tackle the Brisbane Roar/QAS combination at Briggs Road Sporting on Sunday afternoon after last weekend's game was washed out.

Game day

NPL: Sunday (4pm) - Western Pride v Sunshine Coast at Kawana.

NPL women: Sunday (3pm) - Western Pride v Brisbane Roar/QAS at Briggs Road Sporting Complex.



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