Rockdale City Suns defender Trent McClenahan believes his side should not be underestimated ahead of their preliminary semi-final clash with Blacktown City FC on Sunday.
Third placed Rockdale are determined to make a return to the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s grand final for the first time since the 2013 season and the experienced centre back is set to play a vital role.
The 32-year-old said his side has come a long way since last season’s first round finals exit and have all the pieces to take out this season’s Championship.
“It has been a great season for us and we have shown a lot of improvement across the board,” McClenahan said.
“While obviously this season our third place finish was better than last season’s fourth placing, I think more so it has been how we have played against the top teams and that has us placed to make some noise come finals time.
“Last week we were unlucky to have only taken a draw away from the clash against APIA. They got an easy way out with a late penalty but overall the way we pushed them bodes very well for our finals chances.”
This season McClenahan has revelled in a position change from full-back to central defence, but he says for him it doesn’t matter where on the field he plays.
“Whether it is at fullback or centre back I’m just happy to do a job for the team,” he said.
“I’m comfortable playing both positions so it doesn’t really bother me either way.
“Our defence is a strong unit, we are really confident with how we have performed this season and most importantly we aren’t intimidated of going up against anybody else in the competition.”
The former West Ham, Milton Keynes and Sydney FC player said he understands there will be extra responsibility on his shoulders during the finals series as one of the sides more experienced players.
“We have plenty of experience in the team but personally I want to try and give as much to the younger boys and play my part to help manage the game in our favour,” he said.
“Coming into the finals naturally there is that extra pressure and nerves. Hopefully I can contribute my experience playing at higher levels to help the team as much as I can.”
After draws against Blacktown City and APIA in the final two rounds, McClenahan said his side knows exactly what they have to do to earn a place in this season’s grand final.
“For us it is simply a case of maintaining the same high levels of determination and taking our chances when they come,” he said.
“Defensively we have what it takes to keep these teams out so it is just a case of scoring from the opportunities we create.
“The past two years I’ve been at the club the goal has been to win the competition and I think that should always be the benchmark you should be striving for.
“The finals series is here now and we are going to give everything we’ve got to achieve our goals and take out the title.”