Western United will head interstate again in the Australia Cup, looking to secure a maiden quarter-final berth when it takes on Gold Coast Knights in the Round of 16 on Wednesday night.
Australia Cup Round of 16
Gold Coast Knights vs Western United
Wednesday, 30 August
Kick-off: 7:30pm AEST
Gold Coast Croatian Sports Centre, Carrara
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live and free on 10 Play
John Aloisi will be able to pick from an almost full complement of players for the fixture, though Noah Botic will be missing after heading to Tajikistan on international duty with the Olyroos.
The Western United boss could once again hand opportunities to Western United Academy talents with plenty of competition for places across the pitch.
Last time out
Western United look sharp in its first competitive hit out at the beginning of the month, sweeping aside Edgeworth Eagles in a 4-0 win.
The Green and Black got on top early and led 3-0 at half-time thanks to an opener from Botic, Michael Ruhs’ first goal for the Club and a tap-in from Lachie Wales.
Wales then added the fourth after half-time to eliminate any chance of a comeback from the home side, allowing United to keep a clean sheet and see out the remainder of the contest.
Gold Coast Knights are not to be taken lightly and will provide Western United with a stern test to reach the last eight of the Australia Cup.
A brilliant 2023 season saw Knights lift the NPL Queensland title, dominating the division and winning the league by 10 points.
Knights have lost just two games all year and haven’t tasted defeat in over a month, so they will approach this fixture in good form and eager to cause an upset.
The fixture will also be something of a reunion for Western United with three familiar faces set to line up on the other side.
Former United striker Scott McDonald is the head coach while centre-back Oskar Dillon and attacking midfielder Brad Inman will hope to feature against their former side.
Players to watch
With Botic unavailable on international duty, a number of United’s promising young attackers will hope to put themselves in the frame for a starting debut.
Jake Najdovski and Max Bisetto both came off the bench against Edgeworth and looked lively, while Oliver Lavale has been involved in first-team training after a breakout season in NPL 2 Victoria.
Wales could also be tasked with moving into that central position to build on his two-goal performance in the Round of 16.
Riku Danzaki registered an assist in his Western United debut and will be one to watch again as he hoped to add a first goal for the Green and Black in this tie.