Oxley Vale Attunga will be out to extend its margin at the top of the Northern Inland Premier Men’s competition when they don the away strip against Kootingal on Saturday.
It has been a disrupted fortnight for the top-of-the-table OVA with a similar wet weather sentiment shared across the competition. Last weekend’s matches were rained out, while the week prior was a schedule bye weekend for the Queen’s Birthday.
“Our focus has been on trying to keep match fitness with all the breaks between games,” OVA Coach Tim Coates said.
Coates believes Saturday’s match will be won or lost in the midfield, though with a long list of injuries and a checkerboard few weeks ahead the focus remains with time on the park.
“To get some miles in our legs as we have very disrupted schedules with weeks on and off, due to byes and National Primary games break also,” he said.
Three points on Saturday will prove a tough task for Kootingal who have been luckless so far this season. The Kougars sit seventh with two-points.
Gunnedah will face a similar challenge when they host Moore Creek on Saturday. Despite their position of second on the table, coach Andy Cygan remains wary of his sixth placed opponent.
“It is always a tough game against Moore Creek, they are physical and work very hard for one another,” he said.
“They will be fired up with Andre Caetano and Dean Hoy leading them.”
The quest for three points is made more difficult by the loss of international players, Bruno Perroni, Bautista Burgos, and Karl-Lembit Usta, who have left the region due to work commitments.
“We have a few injuries which won’t help but hoping for a win after a few poor results,” he said.
“If we win, we will go 10 points ahead of them but if they beat us, they will only be 4 points behind.”
In the weekend’s other match, South United face Tamworth FC.
“I think the teams will be pretty evenly matched and that it will come down to which team can maintain their discipline and use the ball effectively when in possession,” South’s coach Darrel Mole said.
United hold a narrow ascendancy over Saturday’s opponents on the table, though after a disrupted fortnight and injuries for both sides, anything could happen.
“We have had a pretty disrupted preparation due to the field closures but continue to focus on strengthening our ability to maintain our structure and play to our own plan,” Mole said.
A win for Souths will at a minimum move the side into third on the ladder, with Mole keen to press higher as we enter the second half of the season.
“To consolidate the strong base that we have developed and work on strengthening our defense, maintaining possession and developing more variety and opportunities in attack,” he said.
North Companions have the bye.