TAMWORTH FC is preparing for an early start to what it hopes will be a “threepeat” 2014 season.
The Wayne May-coached FC is chasing a third successive Northern Inland Football Premier League first grade premiership but, before it even contemplates a first-round match in that new premiership race, it has a State Cup match to consider.
“We play the Port Macquarie Saints on February 15 – that’s just two weeks away,” May said.
“We haven’t even got our players registered.”
The Sky Blues play the Saints in Kempsey.
“We’ve had six games in the State Cup the past few years and played every one of them away,” May said.
The closest they have come to a home game was against eventual winners Urunga last year.
“We played them in Armidale,” May recalled.
“They beat us 4-1 and went on and won it.”
Organising a team for the fast-approaching first-round State Cup game is May’s imperative.
He will do that, as well as prepare for a big local season, with a new-look first grade side.
“We’ve lost a few players,” he admits.
“Sooty (Chris Soto) and Andrew Cepak have moved to Newcastle.
“Dylan (May) is at Uni in Newcastle, Rory Byrne has gone back home to Brisbane, Pat Jones has returned to the Central Coast and Matty Gardner is undecided at this stage.”
That’s a pretty big hole, especially the loss of Soto and Cepak, who became the focal points of FC’s attack last season.
“We’re looking for a couple of strikers,” May said after manufacturing Soto and Cepak into a deadly striking duo.
“Andrew was a defender when he came to us and ended up being the leading goalscorer in this conference.
“So we’ll be juggling our players around again.
“Plus we have a few good kids coming through from the 16s. Kobe Russell might play up front yet.
“He did quite well for us in the local comp last year and I’m hoping he might step up to the PL this season.
“We could do with a few more players too.
“Numbers have been steady at training.”
He said club stalwarts such as Scott May, Tim Smith, Jarryd May and Travis Beard will line up again along with Ben Davis and Damien Puyenbroek.
They’ve all been training well.
“Young Travis is only 18 but he’s been playing Premier League for three years now.
“But if there’s anyone out there who thinks they might play Premier League they are quite welcome to come along and have a crack.”s