SOUTH Cardiff coach Steve Piggott believes victory over Edgeworth tomorrow will all but end the Eagles’ chances of making the Northern NSW State League finals – and delight many in the football community.
But not Piggott. He is not concerned with any tall-poppy syndrome. He has watched Edgeworth four times this season, knows they are not far off clicking into gear and is on guard for a side threatening to produce their best on home soil at Jack McLaughlan Oval.
‘‘Edgeworth have always had quality sides the last 15, 20 years and always done well,’’ Piggott said. ‘‘For a lot of people in the game, for them to be struggling probably makes them glad.
‘‘But from my point of view, they’re only a small step from improving sharply and they’re obviously a dangerous side.’’
Edgeworth, tipped by many pundits to be title contenders, have 10 points from 10 games after a string of setbacks. The unexpected retirement of former Socceroo Troy Halpin, the loss of former national league player Scott Thomas to work commitments and season-ending injuries to goalkeeper Ben Smith and tyro Stephen Krause have hurt the Eagles.
With two catch-up games up their sleeve, though, Edgeworth are still in finals calculations.
Coach Gary Wilson said this week that his team needed nine points from their next three games to stay in the hunt.
‘‘We’ll back ourselves and are looking forward to it. We have plenty of games in hand and there are plenty of points available, but ... we need to win,’’ Wilson told the Northern NSW Football website.
Piggott, whose side are sitting safely in fourth with a game in hand, agreed it was do-or-die time for the Eagles as the gap widened between the top five and the chasers.
‘‘They have to win seven of their eight matches, I think,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a tough call to win all of those matches, plus the midweekers. It’s a tough ask for any team.
‘‘If they were to lose one of their next two, you can probably discount them.’’
But he believed there was plenty of fight in the Eagles, despite a deflating 2-all draw with Weston last week in which the Bears’ Nathan Morris scored with a 30-metre free kick in injury time.
‘‘They’ve lacked in finishing, and it’s cost them dearly,’’ Piggott said.
‘‘Some of the decisions their front third have made have hurt them, but if they get it right, they’ll score some goals.
‘‘Gary’s always got them well drilled and well coached, and they’ve still got some quality players like Shane Knight, David Dodd and Ben Martin.’’
Piggott said his side were at full strength except for the loss of defender Josh Hunter to injury.
In first division, Adamstown Rosebud host Thornton today and Lambton Jaffas welcome Toronto Awaba.
Tomorrow, Belmont Swansea take on Cessnock at Blacksmiths Oval and Singleton host Maitland.
The Herald Women’s Premier League round has been washed out.