FOCUS NEEDED”: MCU coach Henry Kennell says his sides survival will likely depend on the next two rounds..
FOCUS NEEDED”: MCU coach Henry Kennell says his sides survival will likely depend on the next two rounds.. Alison Langevad Photography

Pressure on Magpies Crusaders in relegation race

AFTER Magpies Crusaders United failed to get the results they needed from clashes with competition tail-enders head coach Henry Kennell said the next match would be all the more important.

In the past two rounds MCU suffered a 0-4 loss to Western Pride, followed by a 2-2 draw with SWQ Thunder the week after.

The Mackay side sits in 13th place on the NPL rankings, within the clutches of the relegation zone.

Kennell labelled this round as a "battle of bottom teams” with Pride taking on Thunder on Saturday. MCU's chance to climb to safety relies not only on a win, but also on 12th placed Thunder losing.

The lack of three points in the earlier rounds left an empty feeling in the Mackay NPL team and Kennell hoped it would turn to hunger.

"I think some felt gutted, since the (Thunder) game was ours to win,” he said.

The MCU boss hopes his side can unleash their survival instinct before this weekend if they plan to keep their NPL dreams alive.

"Mindset is a big thing . . . if you train like a beast on the training pitch then it comes to the game,” he said.

"I think we need to do that better at trainings.”

While Kennell said the next two rounds against lower ranked sides like Redlands and Sunshine Coast Fire were his side's best chance at earning points, he stood by his men's ability to upset the higher ranked teams.

Midfielder for the Mackay side, Matt Haspels, said the team was aware of the importance of their next two games.

"We all spoke about how big June was for us. We played the two teams below us and will play two (just) above us,” he said.

"We knew we needed more from those games, but we're going to keep fighting,” he said.

"It's not only up to June, we have eight more games after that and I think we can create upsets up to the end.

"Both teams were well organised defensively. They sat back and encouraged (us) to play the long ball. We tried to work hard to unlock them and go through their defensive line, which I felt we did better in the Thunder game.”

Kennell said Redlands would be a learning experience for his side since they pulled themselves from last place after a string of wins mid-season.

"It shows you need to turn up each week and look to work hard. Watching their games you can see that. The change in their football week in, week out.”

Redlands are two places clear of the relegation zone with a six-point buffer.

Kennell said with survival on the line the oppoistion's safty net made it their game to lose.



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