Pickering looking forward to Cup Quarter-Final

Pickering looking forward to Cup Quarter-Final

Posted on May 19, 2017 in 'News'

ECU Joondalup under 18’s are in State League Cup action this weekend, when they travel to Dalmatinac Park on Saturday morning to take on fellow NPL side Cockburn City.

Coach Dean Pickering said his side have really improved in recent weeks and they are looking for a good cup run. “We are at the half way mark of the season and after what was a slow start and not picking up many points, this last 5-6 weeks has been a massive improvement and we have certainly been playing some good football and beating teams not only on the field but on the scoreboard. It’s been a real test not only myself but for the players as week in week out we are given a new challenge with some very quality teams in the league. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to start bringing some players up from the 16’s and even now looking into the 15’s squad for players to give them some chances for those that deserve it,” he said.

“Every week a handful of my 18’s players are either starting for the reserves side or finding a spot in the squad, although this isn’t helping us as a team, we at ECU are all about development of these youth players and giving opportunities and chances to players moving up and a young age. We look forward to the second half of the season where I feel we will have much more success after having a more settled squad of late, and being good enough against all teams we just need to be more clinical and take our chances when they come upon us. This is fantastic to see and I’m very proud of the boys that have had their chances and credit to them as they have put in some great performances. This hurts us as an 18’s squad, but it’s also been a good thing as players below in the 16’s have stepped up and have shown some great character and really showed some great signs when given the chance to get some minutes. Going forward and into the rest of the season and beyond there is some good signs for the club.”

The 18’s played Cockburn in round 7, and let a lead slip late and Pickering said they have improved since then and is relishing the opportunity to put that right. “The last game at Cockburn was a mixed game and one I look back on and the players look back on and we know we should of taken all three points that day. We held the lead with 10 minutes to go and we switched off and fell short right at the end – very frustrating result, but this drives us more heading into Saturdays match against them,” he said. “We will go there looking to get a very positive result and take our place in the semi-finals of the cup. This is a massive chance for the players and one I will be reminding them of very closely that it isn’t every day you make the final stages of a knockout cup tournament. I have a very tough decision to make on the squad this week going into this match, but it’s one I will look to get right to get us across the line.”

They have beaten two State League sides to reach this stage, and both games were hard fought games. “We are into the quarter finals of the cup after coming away with good wins against Melville and Joondalup City. Two very hard fought games, but in the end the better team come out on top,” he said. “Both games were very pleasing performances especially against Joondalup City being a massive derby match and falling behind early we stood up showed some character and beat them comfortably in the second half. We can take some real confidence from these games and going forward in this cup and we want to go all the way now and win this.”