After a fun weekend battering a lower-ranked side in the FFA Cup, it’s back to the business of the league for the Goulburn Valley Suns tonight.
And it’s a huge derby fixture awaiting the Suns, with rival Murray United coming to town, and both teams desperate for a win to get their seasons heading in the right direction.
With many players well rested — there have been seven changes made to the side that faced Box Hill United for the FFA Cup fixture against the Northern Falcons — the Suns might have a slight edge heading into the fixture.
‘‘It’s always difficult against them, it’s a derby game obviously so our boys are always up for it,’’ GV coach Craig Carley said.
‘‘It’s good we’ve been able to give our players a break, we’re close to full-strength, so there’s no excuses and we go in expecting to take all three points.
‘‘The confidence and camaraderie among the group is fantastic, it’s about putting that into action and showing it on the park.’’
The sides enter the fixture sitting seventh and eighth on the National Premier League Two east table, and have both failed to find consistent form in the opening six rounds.
United has beaten both Melbourne City and Nunawading City in the last three weeks, sandwiching a 2-0 defeat against Langwarrin.
Carley said he saw plenty of his own side in their regional rival and acknowledged there was plenty his side needed to do to get a positive result.
‘‘Elliot Jones (United’s coach) has got them playing a good brand of football, they’ve probably tightened things up a bit recently,’’ he said.
‘‘They’re a very similar club to us in terms of putting a big focus on getting local players.
‘‘Zac Walker is always a threat and Ashley Dunn will always give 100 per cent in the middle of the park.
‘‘But we’ve watched the footage of their last couple of matches and there are some areas we’ll certainly be looking to exploit.’’
Striker Walker is the clear danger man for the Albury-Wodonga-based club, with four goals in his last three games seeing him enter in red-hot form.
For the Suns, they’ll go in without winger Stefan Papageorgiou who came off with an injury in the first half last week, while Matt Lelliott is also in doubt with a foot injury.
It’s their first league battle since squandering a 3-1 lead against Box Hill United a fortnight ago, losing the contest 4-3 with the last kick of the game.
And while answering the questions raised from that clash is important, Carley said just getting the season back on track was the main focus.
‘‘We’re aiming to finish as high as we can, so bouncing back and getting three points is certainly the aim,’’ he said.
●The red-hot GV Suns’ under-20s will look to continue to play exciting football in their clash with Murray United on Saturday night.
But while a three-game unbeaten span has launched the Suns into fourth on the table, the question on everyone’s lips will be how many goals will Alou Kuol score this week?
The whiz-kid has buried 11 goals in two games and will look to continue to damage opposition defences against the United side.
The side from Albury found its first win of the season in its last game, a 3-1 result against Nunawading City.
GV’s 7-5 win against Box Hill United highlighted it’s capable of anything, but will need to tighten up defensively to remain in hot pursuit of the sides near the top of the table.