Preview: CPL South Conference round one

Port Saints can’t afford to dwell on the past as the Coastal Premier League splits into two conferences this weekend as the competition attempts to finish the 2020 season by mid-October.

Seven days ago Saints were ultimately playing for the premiership before cross-town rivals Port United crashed the party with a 2-0 win, and Coffs City United became premiers.

Now, North Coast Football and Football Mid North Coast clubs will return to their own zones in a 10-week home-and-away competition following tightened COVID-19 health regulations.

Saints coach Darrell Pascoe now has his work cut out to motivate his side as the southern conference kicks off on Saturday at Taree Zone Field.

“Normally when you lose a grand final – and that’s what it was – you’ve got 12 months to get over it, pick yourself up and get back on the horse,” Pascoe said.

“We don’t have that … we have a week, and that’s going to be really tough on the lads, but that’s my job on how we get ourselves ready.

“That’s not going to be an easy task.”

Elsewhere, Port United travel to Optus Park to face Macleay Valley Rangers with coach Nathan Wade no doubt buoyed by his side’s last-start performance.

“It was probably our best performance for the year last weekend,” he said.

United will play their eighth away fixture from 10 starts, but Wade was looking forward to a more evenly shared home and away format in the two-conference system.

Kempsey Saints will have the weekend off.

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