TAMWORTH FC strives to join North Armidale and tomorrow’s NIF Premier League grand final opponents Oxley Vale Attunga as the only clubs to have won back-to-back PL titles.
Only the North Armidale Redmen, who FC vanquished 3-nil last Saturday at Scully Park, and the OVA Mushies have been able to win successive PL first grade crowns since the PL’s 1998 inception.
Wayne May, a Tamworth FC founder and inaugural coach, is confident his club can join the Redmen and Mushies while OVA’s young player-coach, Lachlan Browne, also thinks his in-form side can win its fourth title in seven years.
Both coaches reported full-strength squads.
“Everyone is fit and healthy,” Browne said.
“All pulled up well last week.
“The first 20 minutes last week was probably the best we’ve played all year.”
While the Mushies dropped off a little in the back end of the first half, they picked up their intensity and game in the second half to regain the ascendancy in the 4-1 win over Joeys FC.
The only Mushie causing concern has been Ben Genardini but Browne said the striker’s hamstring allowed him to play 60 minutes last week.
“He’s better this week,” Browne said.
Genardini and Chris Fenton will be the OVA strikers with Luke Purcell “floating around” on the wing.
“Luke’s scored six goals in the last three games,”Browne said.
“That’s been against the minor premiers in both conferences.”
Tamworth FC is also coming off a good, controlled 3-nil win against North Armidale.
Damien Puyenbroek (wedding) and Tim Smith (suspension) missed that match but return to the squad.
Last night’s training run was probably going to be the most interesting of the season for FC, with coach May, his assistant Darryl Smith and club sponsor and second grade coach Darren MacKenzie to sort through their full- strength squad for a starting line-up.
“We’ve got 14 or 15 who could start,’” May said.
“We have a strong squad.
“We’ll have a talk – Darryl, Darren and myself.
“We changed a few things recently and that has worked well.”
Last night’s training session was on Ken Chillingworth Oval as well.
“Just to get a feel of it, see how it bounces,” May said.
“It would be nice to get a feel before we play there.
“The grass was a little bit long the other day but they were mowing it yesterday and will mow it again tomorrow.”
The return of Puyenbroek and Smith to a side where skipper Scott May and Matt Gardner had big games last week will make it a tough selection for the FC triumvirate but it means the bench will be extra strong.