Jacks head to the Lions’ Den in Week 16

Jacks head to the Lions’ Den in Week 16

Posted on June 9, 2017 in 'News'

ECU Joondalup are on the road again this week, when they take on Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park, in week 16 of the PS4 National Premier League (3.00pm).

It’s the first time the Jacks have met the Lions this season, with the round three game at home postponed due to the extremely hot weather on the day. The Lions’ Den hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Jacks, and last season in round five we came home empty handed after a 3-0 defeat, with goals from Robert Petkov, Teeboy Kamara and Daniel Micevski

The last time we came home with the three points was in 2004, when Jamie Kuzmanovich’s goal gave us a 1-0 win, and head Coach Dale McCulloch said it’s time that was changed. “I’ve played at Macedonia Park and also coached there, and for some reason we haven’t managed to get the right result, but we head there on Saturday full of confidence, and looking to change that poor record,” he said. “I don’t know why this is, but records are meant to broken, and we are determined to keep our good form intact and come home with the points.”

McCulloch said the Lions’ have quality and will be a tough opponent, but on Saturday it’s all about them. “We know the talent the Lions have, but we are more concerned about our performance, and if we get our game plan right, the result will take care of itself,” he said. “The lads have been upbeat this week after a good win at Armadale, and training has been good, and we are focused on the game ahead.”

McCulloch said the youngsters have stepped up in recent weeks, and at Armadale they were missing Steven McGarry, Tommy Amphlett and Ross Millard, but he has a great deal of faith in the youngsters at the club. “The loss of the senior players is a concern, but I’ve every faith in our squad, that we have the players to cover their loss,” he said. “Fraser (Gaunant) came in for his starting debut and was good and Sam Pollard continues to impress. “We also had Todd Hoyle, Declan Hughes, Stefan Vranesevic and Ben Johns on the bench, and I knew if I needed any of them on the day, they wouldn’t let me down.”

Jacks Scottish winger Daryl Nicol was on target last week at Armadale, and he said it was a good performance, especially with a number of senior players out of the side. “The Armadale result was just what we needed having gone a few weeks without a win and to do it so convincingly was a real confidence booster for the lads, especially with having to play so many young boys,” he said. “The next step up for the young lads is to prove they can do it on a consistent basis and give a high level of performance week in week out.”

Nicol is expecting the Lions to be up for Saturday’s game and they need to be on their toes for the whole 90 minutes. “There are no pushovers in this league as was proved at the weekend, so every game gets the same level of attention,” he explained. “I’ve no doubt Stirling will be looking at the game thinking they can get three points from it so we are going to have to work incredibly hard to make sure we get the win. It’s a trip to another ground I haven’t played at before and I’m looking forward to it.”

In team news striker Gordon Smith is suspended for the game and Steven McGarry is overseas, but they do get Ross Millard and Jack Jones back from injury, while for the Lions Darren O’Riordan and Michael Pugliese are both suspended.