Friday, 20 February 2004 12:00 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
This Sunday South return to Bob Jane Stadium for their last regular season home game. Back at their familiar hunting ground South will be eager for a victory to help push them up as far up the ladder as possible.
Stuart Munro’s men have hit a lean patch with recent away losses to Adelaide United, the bottom placed Football Kingz and the resurgent Marconi destroying the club’s chances of a top two placing.
Languishing near the bottom of the NSL, the Mick Hickman coached Spirit will be playing for nothing other than respect. The club has been dogged by off-field problems right through the season yet has still managed some great results, with most notably, a 3-1 home victory against South earlier on in the campaign. That day Stuart Petrie scored two wonder-goals from outside the area, and once again the Scottish marksmen will be a player the South backline will have to be extremely weary of. Petrie has tucked away 7 goals this season to be by far the Spirit’s number one goal-scorer.
The Spirit have been dealt a blow with young emerging forward Dylan Macallister overseas trialling, that said, in Adam Kwasnik, Vuko Tomasevic, John Hutchinson, Brent Fisher and Alex Wilkinson, the Spirit possess a richly talented array of youngsters who have developed into regular contributors for the NSW based club.
Conversely, South are desperate for not only a positive result, but more importantly a good showing to help build momentum and form for the upcoming finals series. Ever since the 4-0 whitewash of local rivals the Melbourne Knights, Munro’s men have struggled for form and cohesion resulting in three disappointing away losses to Adelaide United, the Football Kingz and Marconi. Consequently, the Spirit clash has gained in importance as a South win may see Munro’s men leap to as high as third if other results go the home side’s way.
Squad wise, injury clouds remain over defenders Simon Storey and Mehmet Durakovic, Storey reportedly has a bout of osteitis pubis, whilst Durakovic is nursing a badly torn calf muscle. Those injuries aside, Coach Munro has a near full complement of players to choose from and with the business end of the season fast approaching, competition amongst the squad should be at an all time high with players looking to find their best form to impress the coaching staff.