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NPL: Valentine, Jaffas search for winning formula after rough week

VALENTINE coach Darren Sills blamed a poor week of training and Lambton Jaffas counterpart James Pascoe said he pushed his squad too hard before their shock results last week.
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BACK: Valentine’s Zac Sneddon, right, is expected to start against Lambton Jaffas on Sunday.

Now both have tried to find the right mix for their “desperate” squads ahead of their round-six Northern NSW NPL clash on Sunday at Croudace Bay Complex.

Valentine were thumped 6-1 by Lake Macquarie to sit second-last on two points from four games. Defending champions Jaffas were held to a 1-1 draw against last-placed Adamstown to drop to third, four points off leaders Charlestown (12 points).

Sills said his side trained poorly then played accordingly against Lakesbut they had bounced back this week.

“We’re just going to wipe that one,” Sills said of the Lakes game.

“I’d be disappointed if we don’t perform this week up against the champions, there’s no bigger game. It’s a tough one but if we get beat two or three nil and we play well, I’m not worried.We’ve just got to perform better.

“You can’t take anything away from Lakes, but we always seem to struggle against them, particularly at Lakes, and also at Adamstown.

“With all due respect, they are teams at the same level as us, but we always rise to teams above us. We need to make sure we do it week in, week out.”

Valentine have won three of their past four games against the star-studded Jaffas andPascoe was not reading much into Phoenix’s big loss to the Roosters.

“I watched them last week andI think Lakes would have beatenthe majority of teams,” Pascoe said.“They were super clinical in front of goals. Theyhad commitment to their structures, they defended their own box well with a flat back five. They made it hardto penetrate.

“Lakes had a good day but they would have done well against most teams. Valentine will be desperate this week.They have to be, and so do we.”

Pascoe blamed himself for the performance against Rosebud but said he had freshened his squad with a lighter week of training.

“Last week I got training wrong.I think I overcooked them and they were a bit flat,” he said.

“It’s hard trying to find that balance at the moment because we’re still trying to get boys up to speed after a delayed start and I might have pushed them too hard.

“On another day we still score six goals, but they didn’t go in, and I don’t think we looked our normal, sharp themselves.”

He hoped to have MichaelKantarovski back from injury but saidRidge Mapu (knee)was sidelined.

Sills saidZac Sneddon would likely start after returning off the bench last week from a hamstring injury.

Also Sunday, Charlestown host Weston, whileAdamstown are home againstBroadmeadow in a game featuring pre-game Anzaccommemorations.

On Saturday night (6pm), Edgeworth welcome back Daniel McBreen against Hamilton at Darling Street Oval. From 2.30pm,Maitland host a Jets Youth side missing key playersinvolved inan intraclub trial on Friday.

As for McBreen, the veteran striker is back aftermissingthe Eagles’ past two wins over Weston (4-1) and Jets Youth (1-0) because of injury and illness.

Eagles coach Damian Zane said Aaron Oppedisano, who broke his nose at training, and Dylan Holz (hamstring tightness) are out.

Hamilton coach Peter McGuinness lamented the missed chances against the Jets Youth in a 2-1 defeat last weekend and the loss of Jed Hornery, who aggravated a hamstring injury and will miss the Eagles game.

Charlestown’s Cameron Sullini is in doubt with a groin injury for the match against Weston at Lisle Carr Oval.

Coach David Tanchevski said striker Kane Goodchild (hamstring) was nochance to return but Scott Smith had recovered from illness that forced him off early in the 1-0 loss to Magic last weekend.

Weston coach Steve Piggott was looking for a sharp improvement after labeling side’s ill-discipline in defence ”diabolical” in a 4-1 loss to Edgeworth last week. He said marquee signing Kew Jaliens has been cleared of a foot fracture but faced another three weeks on the sidelines.

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