United set for Victory showdown

Canberra United face finals rivals Melbourne Victory at Olympic Park tomorrow knowing that a positive result could almost guarantee a place in the top-four of the Westfield W-League.

Canberra United face finals rivals Melbourne Victory at Olympic Park tomorrow knowing that a positive result could almost guarantee a place in the top-four of the Westfield W-League.

United sits in fourth place on the ladder heading into the Round Nine fixture with the Victory, where three points would all but secure their finals berth, something Head Coach Ray Junna is well aware of.

“This match will decide who goes into the top four so we-d rather get it over and done with this weekend, instead of waiting for next weekend, and having to get a result,” Junna said.

United-s position on the ladder is such that even a point from the weekend-s big game could prove pivotal.

“We-d take a draw knowing that we have to play Adelaide next week,” Junna continued.

“We came up against Newcastle last week and made it a little bit difficult for ourselves in patches, and if Lydia [Williams] hadn-t make a terrific save about three-quarters of the way into the game, it could have been interesting, so we don-t want to leave it too late and we-ll try to get it over and done with this weekend.”

Canberra has a good record against Melbourne having won all three of their previous encounters to date, including a convincing 2-0 success at McKellar Park in Round Four this season, suggesting United have the game plan to derail Melbourne-s finals progress.

“We didn-t fare too badly against them last time but they are, in size, a big side,” Junna said.

“Maybe they are a little bit slower so we-ll try and turn them around and be looking to play things in behind them early, let our strikers dribble at them and get our midfield and defenders going forward. We-ve played that way all year and against them it worked really well, so if we can keep up the same momentum we should go well.”

United will be without midfield dynamo Cian Maciejewski for the clash after the in-from player suffered a cruel injury blow.

“We-ve lost Cian for the weekend,” Junna confirmed.

“She had an unfortunate injury at work, rolling her ankle pretty badly. Other than that everyone is faring pretty well. Thea-s obviously joined us and is available for selection. We-ll see how everyone fares in tonight-s training session before settling on the starting eleven. Thea-s signing has been a great boost though and she is a good character to have in the team. It-s made a huge difference just having her around the camp.”

The thought of competing in the end-of-season finals jamboree for the second successive season has obviously excited the players. Midfielder Jennifer Bisset, who has become a mainstay of the starting line-up this term after exclusively coming of the substitutes bench in season one, sums up the general mood.

“We-re feeling pretty good, training sessions have been going well and the team is pumped. This is the crunch match and we-re ready for it.” Bisset said.

“Away from home we need to match them physically, but I think we are probably a more skillful team so that will help us get on top of them, especially their less agile players.”

Bisset is aware that the challenge posed by Victory will be tough, but is confident that United can see off their opponents and make a big impression in the finals series.

“I think we can go to the top. There-s a real probability that we can do that,” Bisset commented.

“We do have depth and skill in our squad, but the important thing is to play football the way it should be played - skillfully, but with a physical edge as well, and that-s what we have in our team.”