PHC and North Village, last year’s Friendship Trophy finalists, will be involved in the two preliminary round matches this weekend as the Zebras put their title on the line.
PHC, who won last season’s final 2-0, open the defence of their title after being drawn to meet neighbours Paget in tomorrow’s second preliminary round match at PHC Field at 2.30pm. Village take on BAA in tonight’s match at Goose Gosling Field starting at 8pm.
Scott Morton, the PHC coach is not too bothered that the champions were placed in the preliminary round draw as he is just happy to see some action after a three-week break.
PHC have not played since November 4, with their match last weekend against Dandy Town postponed because St John’s Field was flooded by heavy rain. Yesterday, the BFA rescheduled the match for Wednesday at Goose Gosling Field, starting 9pm.
Tomorrow PHC will meet an unpredictable Paget side who drew 3-3 with X-Roads last weekend, in what will be the first of successive matches against one of last season’s promoted sides. Next weekend, they meet again in the league.
“We definitely have to be wary of Paget, they showed they can score goals but also concede goals,” Morton said. “Nothing is predictable here, even though we’re the holders.
“I always say that is done and gone, was last year and has nothing to do with this year. Every game we have to come ready to prove ourselves.”
Morton admits the break can be a good thing as it allows players carrying knocks to get a rest. “It has its positives but it also has its setbacks,” he stated.
“We had one or two players who had injuries and had time to recover, but on the other hand you don’t keep your momentum building from the previous match.
“The coaching staff, have to make sure that the training sessions, as much as possible, replicate game situations and have the intensity of a game.”
Midfielder Marco Warren is still recovering from a serious groin injury but defender Na’eem Griffith is available and could see action in the coming weeks.
“He has been out training and is in the selection pool with all the other players who train regularly,” Morton revealed.
“Marco is still coming around, had a serious injury and is still day to day. We have a large group of players coming through the conveyor belt so the talent is there. They just need to be given an opportunity so they can flourish.
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