Adelaide United Youth face their biggest test of the season when they meet league leaders Campbelltown City at Steve Woodcock Sports Centre on Saturday.
The Young Reds come into the match off the back of a 2-1 defeat to Croydon Kings, while Campbelltown are 14 games unbeaten and sitting seven points clear at the top of the table.
Midfielder, Ryan Yates, was under no illusions that it will be a tough game.
“Campbelltown have a lot of quality in their side so I think it’ll be a great test for us going into the end of the year,” Yates said.
“And obviously pushing for finals is a game we need to win so we’ll definitely be pushing for our best and hopefully we can come away with a result.”
United Youth’s loss to Croydon was their first in six matches, with Yates suggesting his side struggled to adapt to the conditions as well as their counterparts.
“I think we were a bit unlucky with the way the game ended,” he said.
“I think the two goals came from a few of our mistakes, but it was a bit hard to play on the pitch as we’re used to the smoother surface on the artificial playing our game.
“So we had to adjust and I think we were unlucky. We created chances but we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net unfortunately.”
But despite the setback the Young Reds are maintaining belief they can reach the finals for a second straight season.
Adelaide’s loss coincided with sixth-place MetroStars also succumbing to defeat incidentally against the Red Devils which means they remain three points outside of the top six.
With five games left in the regular season, Yates was confident they could fulfil their objective.
“In this league it’s very close and we’ve set the goal at the start of the year to a certain amount of points and to make that top six,” Yates insisted.
“We’re close, obviously we had a disappointing result on the weekend but there’s still a number of games to go and we’re all positive and the team has come a lot closer together and we believe we can push and make that top six.”
Adelaide United Youth face Campbelltown City in Round 18 of the National Premier League 2019 season on Saturday, 20 July at Steve Woodcock Sports Centre. Kick-off is at 3.00 PM. Reserves kick-off at 12.45pm.