Sydney FC coach Robbie Stanton says his young Sky Blues outfit are stronger and wiser from last season’s fledgling year in the competition and have serious designs on going all the way when the 2018 NPL NSW season commences in a month’s time.
Stanton has run last year’s eleventh-placed finishers through a rigorous power and strengthening course in the off season which has unearthed a new level of confidence throughout the squad.
The Sky Blues gaffer says this development alongside the experience of playing among stronger and seasoned veterans of the game in 2017 has made Sydney one of the most competitive and hungry teams in the competition.
“We were grateful and happy for last season, I don’t think we were anywhere close to struggling technically or tactically, we were difficult to beat and certainly caused a lot of issues for other teams”, he said.
“One of the areas we’ve improved on is the physical strength of our players, we’ve had them on programs that underpins their development in their power, speed and agility.
“This gives them more confidence so they feel like they can compete with men, especially for the younger ones who have stepped up to another level.”
This newfound competitive edge and confidence among the youthful Sydney squad will no doubt be chiselled further thanks a litany of exciting arrivals, particularly in Bonnyrigg pair Luke Ivanovic and Hassan Jalloh who have both been earmarked as the two of the competition’s most talented young forwards.
The addition of Sutherland Sharks starlet Jeremy Cox supplies considerable stock to Sydney’s firepower while Australian Institute of Sport pair Joel King and Patrick Scibilio have also been recruited into the Sky Blues squad alongside ex-Wanderers fullback Jackson Bandiera.
Key departures in the form of Christian Gonzalez, George Timotheou, Juan Zapata and Leo Malfara will provide Stanton with the chance to promote from within with the likes of Jerry Skotadis, Alex Gollan, Ben Koop and Marco Tilio all joining the first-grade squad from Sydney’s successful U18 and U20 teams.
Although the Sky Blues’ primary aim is to offer a pathway into A-League football Stanton says this year’s roster has the potential to go all the way in the NPL NSW.
“We’re very happy with the group – we feel we’ve got a more complete group and been able to add some experienced players into the mix in addition to our experience gained last year.
“We’re a little different as a club in that we’re trying to develop players but we believe we can win against anyone we play against and win every game we play in.”
-By Jacob Windon