INVERELL’S Joeys FC will take on Cooks Hill United FC in a State Cup quarter-final in Coffs Harbour today after having a lucky run.
Joeys have been in top form this season in the NIF’s PL and are the only undefeated side, although this weekend will be a step up according to coach Steve Gadd.
Joeys opened their State Cup account with a 3-1 win over Ballina at the start of the year before receiving a free pass to the third round of the knockout with a bye.
In the third round, they were comprehensively beaten by last year’s winners Urunga 5-1.
Because there were only six sides left by that stage, a fourth team was needed to make up the quarter-finals, with four sides from the Newcastle- based Southern Pool.
Joeys’ name was drawn out of a hat and they have found themselves in the finals series.
“I have been channelling Rocky and the Mighty Ducks and any other underdogs story I can think off,” Gadd said yesterday.
“We are a much better side than was beaten by Urunga in April and have nothing to lose.”
He said the side was trying to stick to its defensive structures but is going to take a page out of the Socceroos’ book and play an attacking, aggressive style of football.
Last season’s NIPL Golden Boot winner Daniel Ferris is in goalscoring form following Joeys’ 5-2 demolition of previously-unbeaten Demon Knights last round.
Gadd will be looking for Ferris to pressure Cooks Hill up front, along with the help of midfielders Brent Pedlow and Ash Smith.
“Apparently they are very skilful in the middle and have a lot of pace out wide,” Gadd said.
“We have lots of speed and are going to get in their faces and make them work to find their passes.”
Joeys have been suffering from some slow starts this season before finishing over the top of teams but won’t be able to rely on that today.
“The games are 70 minutes so we don’t have time to start slow or finish strong,” Gadd said.
The other Northern Pool sides to make the cut are Urunga FC, the Boambee Bombers and Lismore Workers FC.
The Southern Pool contains Cooks Hill United, Southern Cardiff FC, the Broadmeadow Magic FC and the New Lambton Eagles.
All quarter-final games will be played in Coffs Harbour with the winners playing the semis tomorrow from 10am.
The final will be played tomorrow afternoon unless two Newcastle sides go through, in which case the game will be re-located to Newcastle on a later date.
“We have been keeping some good clean sheets lately and will play with no pressure on us,” Gadd said.
“Anything can happen in a final.”
Joey’s FC’s NIFPL game against Tamworth FC has been postponed to a later date.
The PL continues today with South Armidale hosting the Gunnedah Hawks and Guyra United at home to North Companions. Namoi United and Moree FC have it all to do when they host East and North Armidale respectively, while Gunnedah Unitedis in Armidale today against Demon Knights (Rologas 2).