Finals ambitions are examined and title hopes put to the test in PlayStation® 4 NPL Queensland Round 8.
South West Queensland Thunder FC v Redlands United FC
Saturday, 2 May / Commonwealth Oval / 5.00PM
Redlands United are on a high after claiming their first competitive win of 2015 in their midweek Westfield FFA Cup qualifying defeat of Olympic FC.
The Red Devils, who welcomed back French playmaker Nico Bechar on Wednesday, will be hopeful of translating that form into a first league victory on Saturday against the similarly winless SWQ Thunder, who are without a point since the second round.
Chris Wilkes’ side have conceded nine goals in their past two matches without troubling the scoresheet but can climb off the foot of the ladder with three points in Toowoomba.
Brisbane Strikers FC v Northern Fury FC
Saturday, 2 May / Perry Park / 6:00PM
After relinquishing top spot via a first defeat of the season last Friday, Brisbane Strikers bounced back to winning ways with their 4-1 midweek Westfield FFA Cup qualifying triumph over Brisbane City.
Getting back on track in the league remains paramount for Strikers and Kevin A’Herne-Evans’ side will be boosted by the inclusions of key posts Greig Henslee and Jheison Macuace for the Round 8 live stream match.
Northern Fury, meanwhile, are as primed as ever for the trip following consecutive 6-0 and 3-1 victories, while a 2-0-2 record on the road indicates away results are most definitely attainable.
Western Pride FC v Sunshine Coast FC
Saturday, 2 May / Briggs Road Complex / 7:00PM
Top four ambitions come under scrutiny when fifth-placed Western Pride welcome the increasingly-impressive Sunshine Coast.
Only goal difference sees Fire ahead in fourth as the pair boast four wins apiece, ensuring three points in either direction will be crucial.
Plenty of intrigue surrounds the attacking make-up of both outfits as the visitors’ free-scoring 17-year-old Jacob Fulluck waits for a first start, while Lincoln Rule last week became Pride’s ninth individual goalscorer.
Solidity in defence is more likely to decide the contest though; despite their lofty positions, only two teams have conceded more goals than either Pride or Fire.
FNQ FC Heat v Moreton Bay United FC
Saturday, 2 May / Barlow Park / 7:30PM
FNQ Heat must contend with form, personnel and opposition concerns when the competition’s only undefeated side arrive in Cairns on Saturday night.
Heat surrendered a 2-0 lead to draw at home to Western Pride last round, losing Ethan Docherty and Crios O’Hare to red cards in the process, meaning Martin Docherty has a task tough to turn around a three-match winless run.
The hosts will look to catch Jets off the pace after Adam Piddick’s men had their last outing postponed and though four wins and a draw were earlier secured, they are yet to be tested beyond Brisbane.
Brisbane City FC v Palm Beach SC
Sunday, 3 May / Corporate Travel Management Stadium / 3:00PM
Only goal difference separates Brisbane City and bottom spot, but Sunday’s hosting of Palm Beach SC could be their best chance to take points from the champions this season.
Sharks’ first two trips of the campaign both resulted in defeat – more than last year’s away losses combined – though they returned to normality with a 3-0 win over SWQ Thunder in Round 7.
City continued to be ably led by striker Antonio Murray, who has two from two, and Darron Heseldon’s young charges will be boosted by the chance to impress their home crowd for only the second time since mid-March.
Brisbane Roar FC Youth v Olympic FC
Sunday, 4 May / Perry Park / 4:00PM
Brisbane Roar Youth avoided one top four team with last week’s postponement but welcome another on Sunday in league-leaders Olympic FC.
Young Roar notched an impressive 4-2 win over FNQ Heat prior to the break and will be hopeful of opening Olympic’s wounds after they were bundled out of Westfield FFA Cup qualification.
Plenty will be eager to discover whether Olympic’s defeat to Redlands United stunts the momentum of their four-match winning streak or sparks a further surge.
Matt Mundy will return in defence from suspension, while Young Roar could include several players now equipped with Hyundai A-League experience.
For further news, match reports, video highlights and more from Football Queensland, visit www.nplqld.com.au