Gold Coast’s Okon: We will bounce back
Gold Coast United Assistant Coach, Paul Okon, says the intensity of the team’s training sessions this week is the best evidence of United’s determination to bounce back from their first defeat of the season.
With a tough top-of-the-table clash against Sydney FC awaiting them this Saturday night, Okon believes the desire to recover well from last week’s disappointment is driving the competitive nature of the players to new heights.
“There was a lot of disappointment in the dressing room on Sunday and now it’s all about how we bounce back from it – that’s what good teams do. We’re very hungry to put it right this week,” Okon said.
“The players have trained very, very well today and you can see they are ready to respond in the right way to last week’s result.
“Everyone has staked a claim for a starting place in training and that was exactly the reaction we were looking for.
“Each game in the Hyundai A-League presents a new challenge and we’re ready for a tough one this weekend. We’re no longer in first place and first place is where we want to be.
“It’s first versus second and a game between what I believe are two of the best teams in the competition, so it has all the ingredients of a top match. We’re really looking forward to the challenge.”
United are set to welcome back midfield enforcer, Robson, and young excitement machine, Tahj Minniecon, to the starting side after both were absent last week.
With team captain Jason Culina away on international duty, Okon said the duo’s return was both timely and demonstrated the excellent depth of playing stocks at the club.
“It’s a huge bonus for the team to have both Robson and Tahj Minniecon back in contention for such a big game. Tahj is a dangerous player and he will always be a threat, so we’re delighted to have him back.
“The final line-up obviously won’t be determined until the end of the week, but it’s nice to have the majority of players available for selection, especially as Jason (Culina) is away with the national team.
“It’s a tough game with or without Jason, but we knew right from the beginning that he would have commitments with the national team, so we just have to deal with it.
“We’ll face this situation again in the future but that’s why we compiled a good squad here.
“It helps us to have Robson back fully fit and that’s one of the reasons why he wasn’t risked last week against Newcastle. He’s raring to go this weekend and that’s a real bonus for us as he is an excellent player.”