Massive bragging rights will be up for grabs as one of the highlighted fixtures of Round 6 of the FFA Cup sees National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s top dogs Blacktown City host neighbours and staunch rivals Blacktown Spartans at Lily Homes Stadium tonight.
Mark Crittenden’s squad have certainly asserted themselves as the major club in Blacktown, but the Spartans led by former City 20’s coach Andrew Montgomery are hoping to create their own headlines in knocking out one of the biggest NPL NSW Men’s clubs from the prestigious national Cup competition.
A win will see either team be one win away from a coveted Round of 32 FFA Cup spot, something Blacktown City’s pin-up boy Travis Major hopes they can achieve, but to do that, the City boys need to dust off their rivals tonight.
“It’s going to be a tough match, derbies always are,” said Major.
“We’ve got a few injuries to some key players and we are coming off a hard-fought win against Olympic last Sunday so the boys need to be 100% focused for this match tonight.
“There’s always been a good rivalry with the Spartans, we’ve seemed to have the edge over them while they were in the top tier competition until they were relegated so we’d like to keep that momentum up.
“The boys are really hoping for a big crowd in what should be an entertaining game which should hopefully see plenty of attacking football on display.”
City club stalwart and skipper Matt Lewis further stressed the importance of what this match meant to the club.
“It’s a big match for everyone involved.
“We are expecting a tough game, everyone knows anything can happen in a cup game.
“Being a derby adds a bit of fire to it even though we don’t play in the same league anymore, matches against them in the past have had a bit of extra feeling to it and created interest in the community so hopefully we see a decent crowd tonight.
“I’m sure they’ll be looking to create an upset, however, we’re on a bit of a roll at the moment, everyone’s enjoying their football and I think the best thing for us is to keep the momentum going by playing and winning as many games as we can.”
One of Blacktown Spartans weapons will be ace attacker Nathan Separovic with the 23-year-old hoping to play a starring role in springing a major upset against their arch-rivals.
“The match tonight is a big opportunity for us to make a statement. The atmosphere in and around the boys and the staff has been excellent as of late and there’s definitely a buzz leading into the match tonight.
“We understand it’s not going to be an easy task, but a derby fixture leading into the round of 32, what else could you want.
“We will be going into this match-up as the underdogs on paper is something that gives us a sense of freedom and the ability to play without pressure. Blacktown City are a great footballing side, they work hard and move the ball well so it’s up to us not only to match them but beat their intensity. Everyone at the club knows how big this is of an opportunity and a really good chance to prove ourselves.
“We’ve done our homework on Blacktown City tonight, but in saying that, football is always unpredictable and that’s the magic of the cup.
“The players and staff are really confident going into the match tonight.
“As a collective, we’re looking stronger and well prepared going into tonight.
“The likes of Mark Cindric and Andre Carle have been ruthless in front of goal this season and I’m sure Mason Ireland is looking to find the back of the net and against his old club.
“We know the match is going to be won as a collective, so keeping our structure as well as winning our individual battles is going to be crucial to get the win tonight.”
One secret weapon armed for tonight’s clash for the Spartans will be their recently appointed head senior coach Andrew Montgomery.
A man that knows his opponents very well being involved with City for quite some time, Separovic has been happy with Montgomery’s arrival.
“Andy coming in has been a fantastic injection of energy.
“Obviously it wasn’t the start to the season the club had anticipated but since the arrival of Andy, the boys are looking better every minute of football we play.
“There’s a good sense of structure about us, a good sense of energy and an overall buzz around the club.”
Both Major and Lewis stated that Montgomery’s knowledge will no doubt give the Spartans some advantage leading into the hugely anticipated clash tonight.
“Andy is a top guy and I’m sure he didn’t expect to be back to Lilys this quickly but I’m sure it’s an opportunity he’s looking forward too,” said Major.
“He’ll have the most knowledge on how we play than any other coach we’ve versed this season so it’ll be an interesting match-up between him and Critto as they both enjoy open attacking football.”
“It will be different seeing Andy Montgomery with the wrong polo on tonight,” Lewis stated to Football NSW.
“I’m sure there will be plenty of banter on both benches.
“He obviously knows us very well and will try his best to make things difficult for us, although most teams we play against know what they’re up against anyway so nothing out of the ordinary there.
“Overall should be an exciting game and hopefully we get the chocolates and move on to the next round.”
The match will kick-off at 7:30pm tonight at Lily Homes Stadium.