Tamworth will be the Northern Inland Premier League focal point on Saturday with all three local sides at home as the competition resumes after Easter.
Competition leaders North Companions host Demon Knights at Marius St, Tamworth FC tackle South Armidale United at Johnson Field while Oxley Vale Attunga clash with Norths United at Carter Street.
Arguably the match of the round, the Mushies and Redmen are both coming off strong last round wins.
The Mushies brushed aside Demon Knights 4-1 while the Redmen accounted for South Armidale 3-1, although Mushies coach Tim Coates isn’t reading too much into that result.
“Souths were very disjointed team that day so I don’t know whether it’s a true barometer,” he said.
They had lost six players in the week before the game including skipper Ben Wright and keeper Mitch Bullen.
Coates isn’t quite sure what to expect from the Redmen but is wary of the threat they pose up front.
“They’ve got a couple of good quick players up front, and play a good possession and quick passing game,” he said.
He said they do enjoy playing Norths but is hoping for a different outcome to their last encounter.
“Last time we played them we got in front and they equalised in the 90th minute,” he said.
Victorious in both their games before the break, the Mushies will be missing “about half a dozen players” but will still have a good side on the paddock, Coates said.
Adam Watson returns and will slot into a central midfield role.
“He and [Chris] Fenton will just renew what they did last year,” Coates said.
He said DK and Norths are two different sides, but couldn’t point to too much they need to improve on for this point of the season.
“We’re just focusing on our pressure on the ball when we don’t have possession. I don’t think there’s a whole lot wrong with our attack. It’s about winning the ball back in the midfield,” he said.
Joeys FC host East Armidale at the Inverell Sporting Complex in the other round three fixture.
Returning striker Jackson Haussler said his side needed to work together behind the ball.
“We just have to run around and give them hell, make sure everyone is behind the ball, move fast and try to get a counter attack or a goal in and defend well if we do,” he said.
Haussler was confident the team could claim their first three points of the season after suffering a 2-1 loss to Tamworth FC in round two of the competition, and forgoing their first round match owing to a washout.