CPL round five preview

The scary part about a closely-fought opening three rounds of the Coastal Premier League is that by their own admission, Boambee haven’t had a complete 90-minute performance.

They’re the only side to have managed to find ways to claim all three points from their three matches ahead of this week’s home clash with Port Saints.

Bombers coach Adrian Pickup was happy with his side’s defensive effort in last week’s victory over Kempsey Saints, but he wants more for longer.

“We struggled to keep the ball last week, but for 20-30 minutes when Kempsey had a lot of ball it was the best our defence has played,” he said.

The coach is aware they will need to be strong without the ball to contain Port Saints’ target man Roan Whiteman although he is confident his back four will again do the job.

“We played them last year up here and he’s a handful,” Pickup said.

“Last week we defended really well against (Saints striker) Cedric (Blodorn) who didn’t have his best game, but that was a credit to our back four who knew what they had to do.

“I’ve inherited a bunch of guys that know how to play football and the club philosophy is always been the same.”

The Bombers coach was hopeful the surface at Ayrshire Park would be good enough for a clash that sees first take on third.

“Our ground is not the best and is a bit hard at present, but we’re due for a bit of rain so it could be a bit slippery as well,” he said.

“We intend to knock the ball around similar to them so it should be a good tussle.”

Saturday’s match is the first trip to Coffs Harbour for the season, but Saints coach John Goodman won’t use the travel as an excuse.

“I don’t think a road trip for us changes things too much,” he said.

“It’s only an hour and a half to Boambee and we’re okay with that, we’ll be fine. I’d never take it (a road trip) as a disadvantage unless it’s midweek.

“On the weekend everybody’s within distance where it’s not too far.”

Saints are excited about the prospect of going toe-to-toe with the ladder-leaders.

“I’m hoping Boambee are a good side we can overcome because we want to play good football against good teams,” Goodman said.

“They’re the benchmark that we’re trying to be better than at the moment.”

In other fixtures, Port United returns to Dixie Park for the first time in 2021 in the clash with Macleay Valley while Kempsey Saints host Coffs City United.

Sawtell host Taree Wildcats while Northern Storm travel to Polwarth Drive and a fixture with Coffs Coast Tigers.

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