Kings bring A-League a-game
AS the countdown to the start of the A-League gathers pace, Gold Coast United head coach Miron Bleiberg sees Saturday's match-up with the Central Coast Mariners at Skilled Park as the ideal game at the ideal time.
In what will be United's final pre-season fixture at home before the A-League season kicks-off in August, the veteran mentor said he expects a solid test from Lawrie McKinna's side and hence will field his strongest starting line-up available.
Brazilian-import Jefferson, who suffered a long-term injury, and Kingscliff young gun James Brown, who is to begin light running this week after recovering well from his broken leg, the only notable exclusions, with speedster Tahj Minniecon still hopeful of inclusion after overcoming a virus.
“From my point of view the game is very important because of the timing and the opposition,” Bleiberg said.
“We are just three weeks from the start of the season, but that will give us time to fine tune ourselves tactically if we have to.
“The Mariners have been consistent performers throughout the history of the A-League, so for us as a new club they will be an excellent yardstick for how we stand at the moment.
“We have been rehearsing for several weeks now so it's vital for us to see this in action in a game situation with our full squad.”
Before meeting the Mariners, the competition newcomers must first tackle local premier league outfit, the Tweed Valley Kings at Reg Dalton Oval tonight.
When the on-again-off-again fixture was confirmed it was touted as the biggest coup in Tweed's illustrious soccer history, and Kings coach Craig Madden is excited about pitting his skills against one of the best in the business.
“I thought I was the best,” he said.
“No I'm joking; it will be great experience.
“It's great for the community that United are getting out to local clubs, and to see A-leaguers in own back year will be a memorable occasion.
“I hope everyone turns up to support both United and the Kings tonight in what should be a great exhibition match.”
Furthermore the veteran mentor is adamant his men will rise to the occasion and won't disappoint those in attendance, as they look to showcase their talents in front of what is expected to be a very generous crowd.
“We had a great training session on Tuesday night, and everyone's really fired up and looking forward to the game,” Madden said.
“Although I doubt we will see their strongest 11, they will still boast a formidable line-up and so it will be interesting to see how they go and how our boys stand up.
“I've told my guys to go out and enjoy themselves.
“We'll play attacking football to add to the spectacle.”
Insiders at the Kings have also suggested a cameo appearance form 2008 leading goal scorer and Player's Player Luke Morley, who moved north to hone his skills in the Queensland Premier League, may be on the cards.
The action kicks off tonight at 7.10pm.