A response is on the cards when Goulburn Valley Suns return to McEwen Reserve tonight to play one of National Premier League Two’s top sides.
Beaten heavily a week ago by Moreland City, the Suns will be out to remind the competition exactly what they are made of — but it will not come easy against Altona Magic.
Sitting second in the NPL2 west division, the Magic packs a serious punch and Suns coach Craig Carley agreed a win would be a challenge.
‘‘Altona is a quality side, again a side that has invested heavily, maybe the biggest budget of the NPL2,’’ Carley said.
‘‘We played them in pre-season and they played some very good football.
‘‘It will be a different dynamic to last weekend and we’ve got guys available which is a good dilemma to have.
‘‘We want to stay at the top end of the table, but it’s a tough game.’’
The Suns will welcome back Adam Gatcum, Greg Nash and Matt Lelliott to their squad, the trio all suspended for the 4-0 loss to Moreland last Saturday.
Carley was disappointed with the scoreline, but said allowing the two late goals did not worry him, with his side pressing forward at all costs in search of a lifeline.
‘‘We chase the game, we’d rather lose 5-0 trying to chase the game rather than just sitting and letting the result stay the same,’’ he said.
‘‘Credit to our boys, they tried hard, but were just outplayed and out-battled by the better team.
‘‘But we can’t be losing those non-negotiables, that real will to win.’’
Altona impressed early in the season, but has come back to the pack somewhat in recent times, with two losses in its past three games.
The Suns slipped to sixth with the loss and need a result to keep in touch with the league’s top guns.
‘‘If we win our next game we could be back to third, it’s a tight old league,’’ Carley said.
‘‘But that’s the NPL, anyone can beat any team and I’d put our boys up to beat Moreland next time as well.’’
●The Suns’ under-20s will square off with a similarly-talented Altona Magic in this evening’s curtain-raiser.
The contest is likely to be a scorcher, with the teams ranked third and fourth in their respective conferences.
After a 4-2 demolition of Moreland, the GV youngsters will be keen to double down and continue a push for the title.
Alou Kuol and Fraser Gosstray will look to break down the Altona defence, with a combined 21 goals between them this campaign.
The Magic has looked in good form in its past fortnight, with 2-0 and 4-0 wins.