Why valuable goal scorer Andy is resting for finals bid
FOOTBALL: After succumbing to a hip injury, Western Pride striker Andy Pengelly is anxious to return, heading into the state league finals.
The former Ipswich Grammar School student missed his first game of the season last weekend when Pride beat Gold Coast 3-1 to retain a top two spot.
However, he had a complete rest from training this week, hoping to rejoin his teammates and finish a successful first senior in Pride's top side.
"I've got a tear in my hip but it's not too bad,'' Pengelly said.
"It should be about three or four weeks probably.''
Pengelly turned 21 last month.
He will sit out Saturday night's home game against Cairns FC after suffering the injury before the recent match in Mackay.
Pengelly played on in that encounter before sensing it was getting worse.
"I took a shot and I felt it go then,'' he said.
"I got a MRI scan and there's two tears there.''
Having already had a two-week break, the valuable striker is targeting Pride's August 11 match against Brisbane Roar Youth for a possible return.
Second placed Pride (on 51 points behind Lions on 54) have two more games after tacking Roar before contesting the finals should they keep their top four position.
"Hopefully I'll be running next week and then go from there,'' the second year UQ Commerce student said.
"It's been a good season so far. Hopefully we can push on, get a home semi.''
After winning Pride's under- 20 Golden Boot award last season, Pengelly has been one of the state league's most dangerous attackers this year.
He has netted 14 goals from 21 matches, being one ahead of another former IGS student Joe Duckworth, and second to Roar recruit Dylan Wenzel-Halls (23 from his 11 previous matches).
"It's my first season so I'm happy with it for now anyway,'' Pengelly said.
Eager to return, Pengelly appreciated the widespread support he's received, especially from Duckworth, Cam Crestani and Wenzel-Halls.
Former Lions and UQFC player Pengelly attended Ipswich Grammar from year four to seniors.
Since joining Pride in 2016, the former midfielder has thrived on receiving more freedom up front.
That was showcased in last year's under-20 NPL competition where his Golden Boot performance (33 goals) featured seven hat-tricks.
Having made a smooth transition to the senior team, Pengelly wants to share in the team's progression to this year's NPL finals.
That is especially since Pride has battled hard after losing head coach Graham Harvey mid-season and having players like Wenzel-Halls moving on.
"We've had a lot of adversity but we are still together and we all believe in us,'' he said.
"In finals football, anything can happen.
"Even if you don't win the league, the finals are there to win.''
That's what Pride did last year in their memorable grand final victory, coming from fourth place.
Pengelly watched that emotion-charged result having impressed for Pride's under-20 side.
As for Saturday night's game, he backed his teammates to get the job done.
"They (Cairns) are doing better recently but there's no reason why we can't beat anyone in this league,'' he said. "We should be right.''
The Western Pride women are chasing their sixth win of the season in Saturday's earlier match at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
NPL: Saturday (7pm) - Western Pride v Cairns at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
NPL women: Saturday (5pm) - Western Pride v Mitchelton at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.