ONE team is on a season high, the other in a mid-year lull and neither coach is prepared to call it one way or the other.
A month ago Wodonga Diamonds were flying — pumping Albury 4-0, while across town Albury Hotspurs were copping a 9-2 thrashing at home.
But since then the defending league and cup holders have lost to Myrtleford and struggled to beat cellar-dweller St Pats 1-0, while Spurs knocked over the third-placed Savoys 2-0.
“Our boys were rapt after last week — everyone was still on a high on Tuesday,” Hotspurs coach John Irvine said.
“But we have a lot of respect for Diamonds and so we expect that it will be a really tough test.
“We had to rejig our structure after Melrose and the boys have stuck to a new formation and hopefully it continues to work for us.
“But having to move the game to La Trobe gives Diamonds an advantage — they play there every second week, they know the pitch, it’s a lot bigger and to be honest we haven’t performed well there for at least three or four years.”
Diamonds coach Jimmy Bell said they needed to be on their game.
“In the game against St Pat’s we created chances in the first half but didn’t finish them,” he said.
“St Pats are playing a different game style from which they have been known for in the past and Andy Stevens needs to be applauded for that.
“But I also think our second-half effort in that game looked like a club in the depth of a mid-season lull, there were signs of it in the loss to Myrtleford and that continued in the second 45 minutes last Sunday.”
Tomorrow’s clash has been shifted to La Trobe because of work on the Hotspurs’ rooms but Irvine said it almost certainly would not have gone ahead on Aloysius Park.
“We have trained indoors and on Lambert Park for four weeks, it’s too wet,” he said.