Manly United ready to rebound against Blacktown
By Chris Curulli
Manly United are eager to bounce back from their opening round defeat as they prepare to host Blacktown City FC in the club’s first home game of the National Premier Leagues NSW season at Cromer Park on Saturday night.
Paul Dee’s outfit showed signs of promise during their 2-1 defeat away to Rockdale last weekend which they will endeavour to build upon this time around.
Blacktown are always a tough prospect due to the stern defensive discipline which has led them to consistently achieve at youth and first grade level in recent times.
Mark Crittenden’s side will be primed for this contest after kicking off their season a gutsy 1-0 triumph over last season’s grand finalists Sydney United 58 on Sunday.
Dom Ferguson knows that the Manly squad must step up if they are to compete with Mark Crittenden’s side and earn their first points of the campaign.
“It’s very important that we bounce back,” he said.
“We didn’t start the season like we wanted or expected to so we’re focusing all things on Saturday to turn that around.
“Blacktown are always very young, agile and fit team that can punish you if you’re off your game.
“They’re very structured at the back and never like to concede a lot of goals during games, so it’s going to be a very difficult game but we’re up for it.”
Ferguson is playing a fresh role in Paul Dee’s squad this season. Having previously been a mainstay in midfield, he has now shifted to the centre-back position vacated by the departed Travis Oughtred in Manly’s backline.
“Paul had a chat to me early in pre-season and wanted to know if I’d be up to it,” Ferguson recalled.
“I have played there before during my first season at the Mariners so I am familiar with the role and I do expect to continue playing there for the next few weeks at least.
“Myself and Sam Gallagher are both usually midfielders who have dropped back.
“We’re both ball-playing defenders and that’s the style that Manly play: we want to play out from the back.
“I think having both of us there will help achieve that.”
Play will kick off at 7pm on Saturday 7th March at Cromer Park. If you are unable to make it to the ground, you can tune in to all of the action on the NPL NSW Facebook page or Football NSW YouTube channel.