Adelaide United Youth are back in action against the unbeaten Croydon Kings at the VALO Football Centre on Saturday, eager to strengthen their position in the top six.
Sixth-placed United have found form with successive wins after back-to-back defeats, while fifth-ranked Croydon remain invincible. However, since opening the season with two triumphs, the Kings have drawn three straight games, all ending in 1-1 scorelines.
Nevertheless, Young Reds full-back, Aladin Irabona is anticipating a tight contest with both sides sitting on nine points.
“I think we’re expecting a very tough game,” Irabona said.
“They haven’t lost a game yet and for us mentally we know it’s going to be tough.
“But I think if we just stick to our game plan we can definitely get a result.”
He said one of the keys to matching Croydon will be ensuring they are up for the physical battle.
Irabona said that is something they have spoken about as a group in the lead up to their Round 6 match.
“I think it’s just trying to get used to the body pressure because they’re a very physical team,” he said.
“So I think we’re going to focus a lot on getting players used to having pressure right up against you.
“Last season when we played them, they were quite big and strong so it was difficult for us because we’re much smaller than them. So just the physicality that they pose against us.”
Reflecting on the team’s start to the campaign, Irabona believed the team was moving in the direction.
“Our team has been going quite well and we’ve got two wins on the trot now,” he said.
“I think the losses we did have obviously were against top competition, and we’re still in the early days of the competition so right now I think we’re travelling quite well.”
Naturally a winger, Irabona was deployed at right full-back last season and has continued to assume that position for the most part this year.
The 21-year-old admitted it is a position which he is still mastering, though was happy to play in a more defensive role.
“I’m still getting familiar with it but right now I feel quite comfortable there,” he explained.
“But obviously it’s a new position for me to where I normally play.
“So I’m going to have to keep learning, but again if I’m needed there, that’s where I’m going to have to do my job.”
Adelaide United Youth host Croydon Kings in Round 6 of the National Premier League 2019 season on Saturday, 6 April at VALO Football Centre – The Parks. Kick-off is at 3.00 PM. Reserves kick-off at 12.45pm.