City has ladder leader Northcote in its sights

Following its first win of the season, Ballarat City has enjoyed another strong week on the track and is ready to topple ladder leader Northcote City.

Northcote City will be no easy task. After being relegated from Victoria’s National Premier League it has won its opening two matches and is yet to concede a goal.

While it is early days in the 2017 season, Ballarat City coach Danny Gnjidic expected its Saturday opponent to be one of the top sides for the season.

Nonetheless, Gnjidic said the group would enter the clash with confidence following its 1-0 win over Whittlesea.

“It’ll be a challenge, but I think it will be one we’re up for,” Gnjidic said.

“They’re one of the teams that was relegated last year from the top tier and they’ve turned their playing list over with an ambition to return to the top tier sooner rather than later. I’d expect they’d be one of the teams to beat this year and early wins should suggest that.”

Ballarat may have only found the back of the net once in each of its opening two matches, but Gnjidic said the side was creating plenty of opportunities and it was just a matter finishing off the sides good work.

City has a number of talented players in the front half which has been evident in the opening two rounds and if it can put it all together at John Cain Memorial Park an upset could be on the cards.

“We created a number of opportunities over the last two games and our goal return of two goals probably isn’t a fair reflection of the good opportunities we have created. If we keep creating, no doubt we’ll start struggling the scorers and hopefully we’re the first team to score against Northcote.

“You’re in good positions, you build up plays, you set up to get people into those goal-scoring positions so it’s just a matter of those guys working on the final piece of the jigsaw really, which is putting the ball into the back of the net. Which is the hardest part of the game, but the most important as well...it’s just a matter of being composed enough to make the most of those opportunities when they come up in a match.”

Gnjidic said any major changes to the side would be unlikely after registering its first win last week. But he said the mood on the track during the week had been a more relaxed one after releasing the pressure with the victory.

City will have a near-full list to choose from with the only two players unavailable. Miles Baker, who is recovering from a knee injury sustained during pre-season while Liam Harding is still working his way back from last year’s broken leg.

CONTEST: Nelson Salvatore tangles with his Whittlesea opponent last week as Ballarat City registered a 1-0 victory. Picture: Kate Healy

CONTEST: Nelson Salvatore tangles with his Whittlesea opponent last week as Ballarat City registered a 1-0 victory. Picture: Kate Healy

Shaun Romein

Shaun Romein