Murray United’s push for an NPL 2 playoff spot continues on Saturday with another away fixture against Brunswick City.
The Border side has claimed 17 of its 26 points from the season away from home and will look to build on that against a contender from the NPL 2 western league this weekend.
Murray coach James Coutts believes his side has been better away from home because they have been able to exploit the gaps left by the hosting teams.
“One thing I insist when I coach is that players be adaptable in different ways, because I feel that creates an all-round player and that’s what we want to do here,” Coutts said.
“With Gonzalo (Freddi) coming in and the pace and quality we have through the middle now with Chad (Bugeja) and Archie (Thompson), Zac (Walker), Lewis (Greenwood), Dunny (Ashley Dunn) and myself joining from midfield, it gives us a lot more attacking power, which away from home can be really pivotal.”
Coutts added his players’ roles can change during a game, which was proven last weekend when wide defender Nick Teichmann was forced from the field with a hamstring issue, opening the door for regular centre back Alex West to take on the position.
“Westy came in after playing in the under 20s and performed really well,” Coutts said.
“Our local players in particular, like Westy, Pyesy (Sean Pye) and Jigga (Ryan Giles) have been able to come on and play a holding midfield role, they’ve been with us from the start and really developed their game.
“Those boys are the ones that really drive the senior team, it’s great with the new inclusions, but it’s those local boys that drive the standards because they know what's expected.”
The signing of centre back Halil Gur from Richmond has reshuffled the backline and forced Giles and West out of their previous positions in recent weeks, but Coutts believes heightened competition for spots is a positive thing.
“Ryan was disappointed coming out of the side, but I spoke to him and Westy about coming out of the middle because I felt we conceded a few too many goals and opportunities, especially the Box Hill game,” Coutts said.
“We’ve got competition now which is great, but as we saw on the weekend, things change very quickly in football.
“Between now and the end of the year, we’re going to need all the players in the squad and Ryan’s certainly a big part of that.
“The way he has come back into the squad this year has been really pleasing, but Hail has come in and added something extra to the group, which is what we wanted.”
Kick-off is at 3pm at Dunstan Reserve, following the under 20s at 1pm.