United Warriors coach has full faith in young side
UNITED Warriors' legion of young players will become an unstoppable force, they just need time to adapt.
That is the view of the club's Wide Bay League coach Blake Walker, who will lead his troops into battle against Doon Villa on Saturday night.
When the local rivals met in the FFA Cup last month it was the Magpies' turn to chirp.
They drew United despite being a man down, then clinched victory in the penalty shootout.
Walker, who stepped into the role as coach ahead of that game, said he was confident tomorrow's return to Maryborough's Villa Park would be different.
Part of Saturday's - not to mention the season's - success lies in how the side's young players adapt to the Wide Bay League.
"We've got plenty of younger guys. Besides me, everyone in the backline is under 20,” the centre-back said. "Once we gel and they get used to playing Wide Bay League we'll win a few more games.”
Walker said nerves may play a role in the younger players' performances.
"Once they stop getting nervous they'll be fine,” Walker said.
"The more experience they get the better they'll be able to handle it all.”
One of those young players, Fraser White, is United Warriors' first-choice goalkeeper.
His shaky start to the season, in which he has conceded four goals from general play on two occasions, has seen his confidence take a hit.
But Walker has full faith in the 18-year-old despite the minor setback, and suggested White could be one of the competition's leading keepers.
"I think his confidence (might be affected) but he's exceptional at training, he saves everything we throw at him,” Walker said.
"If he lets a bad one in early it puts him off for the rest of the game, but if he can make a great save early he's higher than a kite. We've got full faith in him.”
Injuries and unavailability has forced the Warriors to make several changes to the side that fell 4-2 to Sunbury last week.
Former KSS Jet Chris Martelli will get his first opportunity to start at his new club, while Jordan Dowden is sidelined with an ankle injury.
Walker said it was an opportunity for new players to take the field, and will allow the coach another chance to tinker with his lineup.
"Like I said last week I don't think we'll be playing our best football for a month,” he said.
"We'll have a fair idea who our best XI is in the next few weeks.”