Words: Michael Flynn | Image: Sportspics
Gold Coast City assistant coach Kristian Rees says his side’s resolve is evident this season ahead of this weekend’s clash with Northern Fury.
City head to Townsville on Saturday following Tuesday night’s come-from-behind 1-1 draw with Redlands United.
That match marked five straight games without defeat for City and lifted them three points clear atop the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland standings.
Rees, a former Hyundai A-League Premiership winner and currently in his second year as assistant to head coach Grae Piddick, said that result shows the team has the mental strength to hold top spot into the Easter break.
“You never want to be a goal down but we’ve got some good experience (in the team), which we haven’t had as much in the past, that can respond to that sort of thing,” Rees explained.
“Mentally the boys are quite strong. They are up for the challenge if we come into a similar situation like that, but obviously you want to be ahead for the whole game.”
City’s mental strength – which was also on show in come-from-behind win against Brisbane Strikers a fortnight ago – is further evidenced by their ability to overcome recent challenges brought about by heavy rain and flooding in the south-east corner.
In response, the team has undertaken several training sessions at the GC Five-A-Side complex at Tweed Heads South – a business Rees runs in conjunction with City captain Justyn McKay.
Rees suggested training on the smaller pitches may have proved an unexpected boon to the team’s preparations compared to their other league opponents.
“We’ve managed to have a facility at the Tweed – a five-a-side with artificial turf – so we’ve trained on them which has been good for the boys,” Rees said.
“The sharpness has kept up and the fitness of the team is really good.”
That fitness will prove crucial ahead of this weekend’s match against Fury – which sees the team with only three full days rest since their last hit-out.
However, City are also boosted by the return of defender Eoghan Murphy and striker Jarrod Kyle from suspension for the trip north.
“Hopefully the boys have done their recovery well,” Rees said of the remainder of the squad backing up from Tuesday night.
City have never been defeated by Fury in the state’s north in four meetings since the launch of PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues in 2013 – winning twice and drawing once in Townsville, and also recording a win in Ingham in 2015.
PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland 2017 – Round 7
Northern Fury FC v Gold Coast City FC
Saturday, April 8 | 7:00PM
Townsville Sports Reserve, Townsville
Gold Coast City FC Squad: 1. Ryan Meskell, 2. Riley Dillon, 4. Martin Vazquez, 5. Matthew Schmidt, 6. Roman Hofmann, 7. Justyn McKay, 8. Curtis Stollery, 9. Jarrod Kyle (IN), 10. Jacob Boutoubia, 11. Nik Mirkovic, 14. Benjamin Lyvidikos, 15. Eoghan Murphy (IN), 16. Sam King, 20. Josh Langdon, 21. Sam Smith, 22. Jaiden Walker
OUTS: Oskar Dillon, Thomas Miller
*Starting XI to be determined