Sydney FC captain Alex Wilkinson has relished the opportunity to see the products of the NPL team show their worth on the big stage as the Australia Cup run continues with a Quarter Final clash against Oakleigh Cannons.
The Sky Blues captain was part of the squad in 2017 which lifted the FFA Cup trophy and is enjoying having the young boys alongside him this year as they develop further in their professional careers.
“The young boys have played a big role in the cup run this year”
“To have the young guys around the first team set-up is great because it brings a lot of youth and energy, and they are always keen so it helps keep some of the older guys like myself, on our toes” Wilkinson said.
For many of the young boys, they have been in and around the first team sporadically and now through the Australia Cup run, they are beginning to cement their spot as first team regulars.
“It’s great to see the NPL working so well after they had a great season, and it is only right that a lot of the boys are rewarded with an introduction into the first team environment. Many of them have been training on and off for the last two seasons now, so it is great to see them transition into full time first team players.
“They have all played a huge part in the cup run so far, Gurdy [Aaron Gurd] played his first game alongside me and scored a goal too, Sega’s [Adrian Segecic] started a few games on the wing, obviously [Patrick] Yazbek too who was around the team last year. We’ve also got JK [Jaiden Kucharski] coming through, Woody [Patrick Wood] is coming back too and the list goes on really which bodes well for the rest of the season.”
As the cup continues for Alex and the rest of the young boys it also presents the perfect opportunity for competitive games prior to the commencement of the Isuzu UTE A-League season.
“To be able to play competitive games every few weeks is only going to help our preparation moving forward. For the young guys as well, the more time they spend in this first team environment and the more matches that they play, it is only going to take their games to another level” the captain concluded.
After gaining progression to the Quarter Finals with a 2-1 victory against Bentleigh Greens, the Sky Blues had to await until last night to find out their opponents, and another trip to Victoria is now on the cards after they were drawn Oakleigh Cannons.
Oakleigh came through a nail-bitter of a clash with Brisbane City which finished 3-3 at Full Time, before Oakleigh ran out 5-3 winners thanks to the additional 30 minutes, and Wilkinson isn’t taking the Victorian NPL side lightly.
“We were down in Victoria a couple of weeks ago and had a really tough game against Bentleigh so we know that Oakleigh are going to be no different.
“There’s a reason that they have made it this far so we are under no illusions that this is going to be an easy game, especially at their ground, but it’s one we are looking forward to and it provides us with another competitive game.”
Further match details on the clash are expected to be announced shortly for this Quarter Final match-up.