NATHAN Wilson, one of a handful of outstanding goalkeepers plying their trade in Gold Coast Soccer, is still a doubtful starter for this afternoon's first division major semi-final first leg against Tweed United at Jim Devine Field.
Wilson broke a finger at work and has been missing from the Murwillumbah goal for six weeks, watching the action on the sidelines as his teammates carried all before them to win the championship on 43 points from second-placed United (38).
This was finally clinched last week when MFC and United shared the honours 1-1 all in the final match in the home-and-away series.
The teams will also face up to each other next Saturday in the second leg of their semi-final, this time at United's Arkinstall Park.
Away goals count for two and the team that compiles the most goals in the two-match series advances straight into the grand final at Carrara Stadium on September 15.
The loser will have to back-up the week after in the preliminary final to determine which team goes through to the big one.
In other semi-finals today, Burleigh Heads (third) hosts sixth-placed Tugun, and Griffith University (fourth) hosts Surfers Paradise (fifth).
The two losers bow out and the winners fight it out next week to see who will play the loser of the MFC-Tweed United contest.
MFC coach David Lonie is hopeful Wilson arrives at Jim Devine Field this afternoon and tells him he is fit to play.
"He's just about right but I don't want to play him if he is not 100% fit," Lonie said.
If Wilson is ruled out, Brent McCloy will wear the gloves. The midfielder shows ability in goal and won't let his team down.
Otherwise, MFC will field its strongest line-up, with several key players returning from injury, illness and holidays.
The classy ball-player Dane Miller has shrugged off a recurring illness and slips into the midfield, goal-sneak Brent Malone has overcome a hamstring strain and Sam Reynolds, back from an overseas holiday, will be the fresh man off the bench.
United coach Dennis Dodd says all hands are on deck as his young outfit takes on the hot premiership favourite.
"Everything is okay with the boys and I'll field the same side which drew with Murwillumbah last week," Dodd said.
"We'll go down there (Murwillumbah) intent on performing to our best and if we do that, who knows, if we salvage a draw or score an away goal or two, we'll really put the pressure back on them in the second leg at Arkinstall."
Key players for United will be goal-scoring wizard Alex Threlwall, who has potted close to 40 goals this season, skipper Michael Kolovos and brilliant goalkeeper Taylor Devenny.
Nathan Wilson or Brent McCloy, David Lonie (c), Simon Hercombe, Josh Boag, Adam Rogers, Keanu Sparkes-Young, Dane Miller, Brent Malone, Kurt Buchanon, Jared Lee, Blake Gilmore.
Taylor Devenny, Jai O'Hara, Michael Gardner, Josh Foster, Michael Kolovos (c), Matt Noble, Adam Karlos, Rob Dickinson, Tait Burns, Alex Threlwall, Josh Taylor.
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