Ahead of the final match of the season, with a finals berth on the line, we caught up with NPL NSW Head Coach Jim van Weeren to get his take on tonight's clash against Marconi.
It’s a must win game, how have you instilled that in the boys?
We know that we must win if we are any chance to make the finals this season, this playing group is very driven and ambitious, they know what's on the line and are very motivated themselves.
What did you take away from the 4-3 game against Wolves last week?
We were completely dominated in the first half, Wolves played very, very well and we were fortunate to only go into the break at 0-3. We made some changes, both personal and tactically at the break and saw a good response from the boys in the second half. We take away that we were able to score 3 goals against the premiers from last season. Wollongong are coming second (on goal difference), to score three goals against them is a major positive for us.
What are you expecting from Marconi on Friday? Not an easy place to go to?
Marconi has a top squad, lots of experienced, talented players and now some dangerous younger match winning players who are scoring goals too. Marconi is a major threat on Set Plays. We have had trouble with this in the past and know what to expect. It is a challenge we are looking forward to.
What would it mean to you to make the NPL Finals?
It would be a great privilege to make the finals. The NPL 1 competition is the second tier of Australian football, and we're a team of 16-19-year-olds, to be able to finish in a finals position would be admirable. The significant majority of this playing group have been with the Academy since we first started back in October 2015, they've pushed themselves and each other over the years to try and achieve their football potential. It would be an outstanding achievement!
Of course Sydney United need to drop points, how will you be keeping tabs on that match?
We're relying on Sydney United to lose in order and for us to win in order for us to make the top four. We will be focusing on our match and our performance first and foremost. Their result is out of our control, but I am sure most of us staff and players will be keeping on eye on the live stream following the fulltime whistle in our match.