Whichever ever way defender Nigel Boogaard looks at it, there is ample motivation for the Reds going into Sunday’s clash against Western Sydney Wanderers.
Whichever ever way defender Nigel Boogaard looks at it, there is ample motivation for the Reds going into Sunday-s clash against one of the hottest teams in the league, the Western Sydney Wanderers.
For starters, the match will see the Reds front up against the league-s new boys for the first time since they were dispatched 6-1 by the Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium before Christmas, a result that obviously does not sit well with Boogaard.
However, while gaining some payback is a motivating factor, the defender says it is overridden by the Reds wanting to retain their place in the top two after slipping to fourth on the back of no joy in the past two weeks against Melbourne Heart or the Central Coast Mariners.
“There is definitely motivation there,” Boogaard said.
“That (6-1 result) was a pants down moment. It-s not a good situation and no one likes that in sport so there-s motivation there, but I think there-s more motivation in terms of getting the three points to climb the ladder.”
“I think the way we fell out of the top two, we probably didn-t play well enough and probably didn-t step up to the mark well enough in Gosford, so hopefully we have a big turnaround and can push forward towards the finals.”
With nine games to go, the Reds are only six points behind the Mariners and have a ten point buffer back to the Newcastle Jets in fifth, and although there are some that are starting to dismiss Adelaide United as a serious threat, Boogaard says the squad is still full of optimism and positivity.
“Everyone seems to think we-re in dire straits. We-re sitting fourth in the league and we-ve been sitting second for most of the season, and we-re clear of fifth and sixth,” Boogaard said.
“We-ve just got to get back to focusing on what we do well and it-s a great opportunity. In the three seasons I-ve been here this is a great opportunity for us to go on and do well. We-re in a great position, all of the boys know that, we-ve just got to do our job when it comes to going out on the park and playing football.”
In a week where the headlines have been dominated by the hasty departure of former coach John Kosmina, whose position has been taken up by Michael Valkanis in the interim, Boogaard has already noticed a rise in the intensity levels at training, something he believes always happens, whether subconsciously or not, when there is a change of the guard.
For Boogaard, the fact that every player in the squad is once again on notice could create a new lease of life heading into the rest of the season.
“It (Kosmina-s resignation) is in the past now and we-re looking forward to the challenge…obviously Michael (Valkanis) is in for the rest of the season and with every new coach intensity lifts at training, boys have got to prove themselves and it-s almost like a clean slate again,” Boogaard said.
“Each coach has their own style they want to play and their philosophies, and it has only been a couple of days but I-m sure over time Micky will instil that in us, but as I said with every new coach there is always that factor of everyone trying to prove themselves again and hopefully that works in our favour this weekend.”
Boogaard is also adamant that the distractions of the events of the past four days have not had an unsettling impact on the squad, and that the only focus was on beating the Wanderers on Sunday and trying to record an eighth home win this season.
“As a footballer you just want to get out there and train and play and not worry too much about what happens off the field,” Boogaard said.
“Our job is here, getting ready and preparing for Sunday-s clash against the Wanderers, which is a big chance for us to push forward and get higher in the league.”
Kick-Off is at 4.30pm and tickets for the match are available through Ticketek.