Craigieburn City is counting on continuing to build

New Craigieburn skipper Jordan Connerton. Picture Damian Visentini

By Tara Murray

Craigieburn City isn’t about merely making up the numbers in FFV state league 3 north-west soccer in the coming season.

Having earned two straight promotions to rise from state league 5 to state league 3, Craigieburn could quite easily focus on cementing its spot.

But coach Michael Loche and his players have other ideas.

“Looking at just cementing our spot isn’t an option for us,” he said.

“We can’t keep standing still.

“We want to be in the top half of the league and anything can happen from there.”

Loche said the club had worked on strengthening the side in the off-season, keeping in mind the demands of playing at a higher level.

He said depth was an area that had been looked at, with the core group of players returning.

Defensive midfielder Leon Stergkou, Danny Federico, former player Ubeyde Cicek, Aykut Kucuktepe, Muhammed Temel and Faith Turer have all joined the club.

Loche said their biggest new signing was still be unveiled.

In another big plus for the side, new skipper Jordan Connerton is fully fit for the first time in two years – a bad sign for opposition sides.

In just eight games last season, Connerton scored 25 goals.  In his first season with the club, he scored 55 goals.

“When he is fully fit, he’s in the mix as the best player in state league, especially the best striker,” Loche said.

On Sunday, Craigieburn played its second match of the FFA Cup.

After a 5-4 win in extra time in round one, Craigieburn’s run ended against Ashburton United.

The game was called off in the 70th minute with Craigieburn player Hish Nehfaoui taken from the ground in an ambulance due to a bad injury.

Ashburton United was in front 1-0 at the time and progressed through to the next round.

Loche said the FFA Cup wasn’t the main focus.

“It’s more about getting the kilometres into the legs,” he said.

“It’s about understanding the strengths and weakness of the players and gearing up for round one.”