BALLARAT Red Devils are still unable to field their star import Danny O’Donnell as they wait for his clearance papers to be finalised.
Heading into their toughest game to date today, against Green Gully in the fourth round of knockout Dockerty Cup, the Reds will again be far below full strength with three of their biggest names out of action.
Despite being fully fit, Englishman O’Donnell remains ineligible to play until his transfer papers get the final green light, while playing manager James Robinson has taken himself off the playing list while he recovers from a knee injury.
Midfielder Dane Milovanovic will also be out of action, with a one-match suspension still lingering over his head.
Although he is allowed to play in Dockerty Cup matches, Robinson said he had decided to rest Milovanovic until he had served his suspension, which will count in next week’s NPLV league match against Goulburn Valley.
The starting 11 was yet to be decided for today, but Robinson said it would be another huge test for a predominantly young side.
Green Gully won last year’s Dockerty Cup and is a fellow NPLV rival this year.
“It’s our first test against a side in our division to see how we are genuinely going,” Robinson said.
The Reds were given free passes through the first round of the statewide knockout competition and trounced Bayside Argonauts 5-0 in their first
competitive match as a team on Tuesday.
The win followed Saturday night’s anti-climactic season opener against Bentleigh Greens, which was abandoned due to weather and poor lighting.
“The application and attitude from the guys to recover from that night was very professional,” Robinson said.
“It could have been easy to fall away mentally after that but they came out strongly, which showed great signs for the year.”
The match versus Green Gully will start at 3.30pm at Knights Stadium in Sunshine and will form as part one of a double header, with Melbourne Knights and Whittlesea Ranges to go to battle afterwards.