BALLARAT Red Devils have targeted a return to stout, uncompromising defence for their round 11 National Premier Leagues Victoria game against Hume City.
The McDonald’s Reds have conceded 22 goals in 10 matches this season and player manager James Robinson hopes Saturday’s encounter at Morshead Park will be the first step to rectifying the issue.
With plenty on the line, including a potential five-spot rise up the ladder, Robinson says his side will come out “raring to go and ready to fire” but with a defence-first attitude.
“We’re conceding goals too easy. The message (this week) is that we need to start locking up shot,” he said.
“When you look at it, you’re conceding two goals per game and that’s two goals too many.
“We address it collectively, not just the defenders but as a whole team (because) I’m really happy with everyone out there.”
The Red Devils have been hampered by a myriad of injuries in recent weeks, with Daniel Firth joining Nelson and Bolish Salvatore on the sidelines with a niggle.
The two Salvatores are expected to miss a further two weeks, but the serious knee injury to Pat Karras is of more concern.
The young star was involved in a heavy clash just after half-time in round 10.
Red Devils officials are still waiting on MRI scans but have pencilled him in for an eight to 10-week stint on the injury list.
Steven Thomson and Shaun Romein are both in consideration for Saturday’s game.
Hume enters the fray with an up and down record of four wins, five losses and one draw, compounded by a heavy victory and dismal loss in the past week.
After losing 3-0 to Green Gully in round 10 of the NPLV, City returned to the winners’ list in a big way with a 6-0 thumping of Springvale in the Dockerty Cup on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Ballarat is coming off a disappointing 3-1 loss to Dandenong Thunder and sits at 3-5-1.
Robinson has plenty of options to look to in the younger ranks, with Miles Baker and James King both impressing in recent weeks.
He will also have a difficult choice to make between in-form keepers Aaron Romein and Jordan Franken.
EXPECTED LINE-UP: Jordan Franken, Charlie King, Steven Thomson, Daniel O’Donnell, Daniel Tinker, Liam Harding, Shaun Romein, Dom Swinton, Dane Milovanovic, Simon Murphy, Adrian Curtian, James Robinson (coach); subs, Miles Baker, Tristan Romein, James King.