Ryan Clarke back to bolster Maitland FC in must-win game

The Maitland Magpies final hopes could be effectively decided by Sunday afternoon.

If Maitland can grab the three points in Saturday’s game against Lambton Jaffas and Hamilton lose to Broadmeadow Magic on Sunday, the Magpies will secure the final spot.

“It’s still in our own hands that’s the only positive we can take out of the last couple of weeks,”  Mapgies coach Mick Bolch said after back-to-back draws after being in command.

In a cruel twist the Magpies 1-all draw with Lake Macquarie City was the second week in a row that an 87th minute equaliser had denied them full points after a 1-all draw against competition leaders Edgeworth after controlling the game.

“We need to score more goals than Jaffas do, that’s our game plan,” Bolch said of Saturday’s clash against Lambton who beat Maitland 3-2 in their last meeting

“To me they’ve got the best squad in the league, the most depth and most quality in their squad.

“We did really well against them second half in the first round, after they led 3-0 at half-time.

“We changed our shape in the second half and did really well. We’ll probably go in with what we did in the second half again.

“We get Ryan Clarke back this week and Matt Thompson has had another 60-70 minutes under his belt which is going to help with his match fitness.

“We’ll virtually have everyone on board who we are going to get back for the rest of the season.”

The Magpies have lost only one game in the 10 games since they played the Jaffas, but only managed two wins.

”We’ve just to worry about ourselves now. If we can get three points on the weekend and Magic happen to beat Olympic then we are in the finals, we can’t miss out.

That’s the mindset we have to take into this weekend. We play on Saturday and Olympic don’t play until Sunday. If we get the three points on Saturday the pressure goes back on them and if they don’t win their season is over.

“If we don’t secure three points and they beat Magic on the weekend then it is out of our hands.”