Friday night football returns to Somers Street with a David-and-Goliath style battle, as current league heavyweights Avondale FC make the trip to Knights Stadium in round 10 of the Victorian NPL. After a string of injuries has forced key players out of squad selection in the past weeks, the Knights will have to dig deep if they plan to cause one of the biggest upsets of the season thus far.
Coming off last week’s loss to Kingston City, the Knights return home for a final Friday night home-game of the season, to face their toughest opponent yet. The Knights currently sit in 10th position after securing only two wins this season. With goals aplenty, a key aim for the Knights will be to claim their first clean sheet of the season, which will go a long way in helping them secure the three points this round. Ideally, a win here for the Knights could see them jump up to eighth position, just outside of the top half of the table. More so, a win here could restore some much needed momentum for the squad moving forward.
Avondale have had a strong opening to their 2018 campaign; the Avengers (slightly different to the ones you can currently find in the cinemas) added some firepower to their squad this season with the signing of former Knight Elvis Kamsoba and Stefan Zinni, formerly of Melbourne City FC. However, the Knights will need to pay attention to the clubs more prolific strikers, Kaine Sheppard and Liam Boland who sit on 11 and 7 goals respectively. So far Avondale have not left a match empty handed, winning all games except one draw, against Pascoe Vale FC. The side has also managed to keep 5 clean sheets out of their 9 matches thus far, so finding a way through their backline will be priority for the Knights.
Despite the current odds, true NPL followers know that the league is volatile, and every game is up for grabs. The Knights have a fine opportunity to cause a major upset on Friday by issuing Avondale with their first defeat. With post-match entertainment also on the cards, the club is looking forward to welcoming some strong home crowd support to get the boys over the line.
Melbourne Knights FC squad: 2. Luke Jurcic, 3. Shaun Timmins, 4. Ben Surey , 7. Nate Foster, 8. Brody Taylor, 10. Marijan Cvitkovic, 12. Anthony Dezic, 13. Ayden Brice, 17. Nicholas Jurcic, 19. Anthony Duzel, 20. Jordan Gifkins, 21. David Stojic, 23. Tim Purcell
Outs: 1. Harry Cakarun, 6. Tomislav Uskok, 11. Nikola Jurkovic, 16. Louis Fenton
Unavailable: 5. Milan Batur (injury), 9. Kym Harris (injury)
Kick-off: 8:15pm (AEST)
Venue: Knights Stadium
Forecast: 18°C, showers
Referee: Perry Mur
Assistant Referee 1: Jordan English
Assistant Referee 2: George Loukeris
4th Official: Garth D’Silva