Albury Hotspurs’ aspirations of making a second straight cup finals series will hinge on getting results against the likes of Twin City Wanderers on Sunday.
Robert Tuksar’s side sits two points behind Cobram in eighth spot, while the Wanderers and Albury City are a point further ahead.
The Hotspurs’ mentor admits the clash at Kelly Park is a six-point game.
“If they get the result they push away from us, if we get the result we keep in touch with them, so it’s a really important game,” Tuksar said.
“It’s another quality side we have to play against, most sides are.
“We started well, but as the season goes on things happen and it makes it more difficult.
“It’s about getting these young boys going and playing well regularly.
“Injury and work commitments have made it hard to get the same senior side on the park each week.
“The week off couldn’t have come at a better time to give those guys a chance to get right.”
Tuksar challenged his side at the start of the year to improve on its eighth-place finish from last season.
“If we can get around seventh on the ladder, it would be great, but making finals is the main thing and anything can happen,” he said.
“It has been a building year for a few years.
“Unfortunately, the guys we have at our club are smart and unfortunately they go to uni, so we need more dumb buggers like me to stay at the club,” he laughed.
Twin City coach Lee Botting admitted it was hard to take much from his side’s previous meeting with Hotspurs due to the tough conditions.
“I think Aloysius Park had a bit of a waterlog that day,” Botting said.
“I went over a few weeks ago when we had a postponed game to watch them against Albury City and their attacking power in the midfield was very good.
“They’re in finals contention like us, so I’m expecting competition.”
Botting is pleased with where his side sits at the halfway mark and hopes they can kick on at the pointy end of the season.
“After the first four games and four losses it was pretty tough, but we knew it was there, it was just bringing it out in the players and having the belief, discipline and intensity,” he said.
“We had a good run and disappointingly lost against Albury City which was a game I had near enough ticked to win.
“Last Thursday we played one of last year’s finalists Cobram and took it right up to them and beat them.
“The belief is the biggest thing we’ve instilled back into the guys.”
Shaun Wilhelm is the only player under injury cloud for the Wanderers.