Oxley Vale Attunga will be out to extend its margin over Gunnedah at the top of the Northern Inland Premier Men’s competition on Saturday when they travel west to Geoff Morgan Fields.
The Mushies sit atop of the table on 28-points, with nine-wins and a draw to their name. They are 11-points clear of Gunnedah, who have a game in hand.
“We look towards a solid 90-minutes in both grades after another week off,” OVA coach Tim Coates said.
Brendon Fergie and Harrison George remain sidelined with injury though Coates doesn’t appear concerned with the strength of the squad a continual positive for the top-of-the-table side.
“As we have been into the colder and wetter part of the season, when we can play and train the spirit is strong, we rely on social media platforms for some of our communications and fun,” he said.
Reflecting on the season so far, the Mushies mentor was full of praise for the squad, while giving credit to those behind the scenes.
“The willingness to turn up in solid numbers every Tuesday and Thursday. The solid attendance allows us to play games of 11 aside after the other mandatory fitness and ball work,” he said.
“The club is very lucky to have a dynamic committee who have organised plenty of events when able to support some wonderful charities and causes.”
At the other end, Gunnedah will be close to full strength with the only cloud over the attendance of Rob Pryor, who became a first-time dad earlier in the week.
As for what it will take to knock over the top-of-the-table OVA, player coach Andy Cygan said lessons learnt and early pace will determine the result.
“We need to learn from previous defeats by OVA and keep to the game plan… We didn’t do this last time and conceded three early goals,” he said.
“Not conceding early, matching them with their work rate and taking our chances.”
At Marius Street, North Companions can move within striking distance of the third placed South United who has the bye. The margin between the two-sides is currently four-points although Norths remain with a game in hand over United.
“The squad is incredibly positive and keen to get our season back on track. All are very frustrated with only having played one match in the last seven weeks,” Northies’ coach Gavin Thompson said.
Northies will be without midfielders Andrew Mahony and Matt Kelly for the clash with Kootingal, with Thompson’s message to the squad a simple one.
“A good performance this week is nothing short of a victory,” he said.
In the round’s other match, the fifth placed Tamworth play Moore Creek at Gipps Street. All games kick-off at 3pm.
“This weekend we have got the chance to approach the top four, so we are going to do our best and fight for it,” stand-in Moore Creek coach Andre Caetano said.
Moore Creek are expected to be at full strength for the match, with many of the club’s next generation again set to feature.
“We have a goal of working with the young players and preparing them for the years ahead.”