FORMER Socceroo and Dapto Dandaloo captain Alvin Ceccoli is adamant his club's youth team is a huge reason why the Fury sit two points clear on top of the IPL ladder leading into the last four games of the regular season.
The Fury face Albion Park White Eagles at Dandaloo Sports Ground today where nothing but a win will suffice to fend off title challengers Tarrawanna and Bulli, who trail the competition leaders by two and four points respectively.
''We've been really grateful that we've got such a strong youth team that has provided players that have really stepped up for us,'' Ceccoli said.
''You don't know how they're going to fare until you start using them and, to their credit, the kids have really responded well. And if they hadn't, we would have been in a testing situation where our performances and results would have been much worse.''
Ceccoli, a 38-year-old veteran who has played for Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners, pinpointed central midfielder Sam Matthews as one player that has delivered a string of eye-catching performances. ''Sammy's been outstanding for us. His performances have been so good that he's forced the returning Chris Jackson onto the bench. So credit to him for really stepping up for us in a position where it's really tough to assert your dominance.''
Albion Park are one of the few clubs that have had the stick on the Fury this season. The two clubs drew 0-0 in the IPL with the White Eagles inflicting a 2-1 loss on the Fury in the Bert Bampton Cup, a competition they went on to win.
''We definitely have a score to settle this weekend … but we have to be careful. We have some good teams breathing down our neck.
''We went through a really tough patch when we were playing in all the Cup competitions … and it really, really took it's toll.
''But over the last four or five weeks we've put ourselves back in a really strong position.''