PORT United and Port Saints coaches are giving nothing away leading up to Saturday’s derby at Dixie Park.
In a match that pits second against fourth, United boss Nathan Wade is expecting the undefeated Saints to provide the toughest challenge for his side so far this year.
Both coaches have seen minimal footage of the opposition, but regardless of that they aren’t reading too much into the points table.
Wade will have to find another outlet for his goals with Simon Granfield and Andy Collins to miss the match due to work commitments.
Both players found the back of the net in last week’s 2-0 defeat of Wallis Lake.
Instead he will look to vice-captain Matt Broderick to provide leadership and possibly fill the attacking void up front alongside Matt Bale.
“We’ll have to find someone else to score for us so hopefully Matt might sneak one,” Wade said.
He said his players don’t feel any added motivation in being the first side to beat Saints this season.
“We don’t want to get beaten at home, that’s for sure,” he said.
“We haven’t seen Saints play, but they are undefeated so something must be working.”
Wade expected Saints to hit the ground running and play an up-tempo style of play.
“They’ll be a bit quicker than us, so we might have to be a bit physical and bump them off the ball,” he said.
“If we can keep possession and make them chase the ball it means we’ll be doing it less.
“We want to wear them down.”
Saints had to reschedule their match with Taree Wildcats last weekend due to a clash with an FFA Cup fixture.
Coach John Goodman wasn’t concerned that it will have been nearly two weeks since his side last played.
He doesn’t believe it will have disrupted their early-season momentum.
“There would have been a few players that we would have struggled to get right last week,” he said.
Goodman wants his side to start the game better than they had in the first three rounds where they conceded the first goal within 10 minutes.
The key to a much-needed clean sheet was the centre-back pairing of Ty Marchant and Dan Gardiner.
“Ty is a good, young kid who has made the transition into the Premier League very well from the NPL,” he said.
“I think having Dan next to him is working well because Dan isn’t quite as fast.”
The Saints coach was confident the local derby would see goals scored.
“A clean sheet is one thing that has avoided us so far this season so I expect it to be an open game,” he said.
“It’s certainly a game we don’t want to lose and I think there will be goals.”
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