FA CUP winner Paul Price has watched his Armadale side go from surprise packet of soccer’s pre-season competition to league strugglers in the blink of an eye.
Price, who helped Tottenham win the 1982 FA Cup, has been coaching Armadale since last season and was confident his side would be much improved in the National Premier Leagues WA (NPL) competition.
But after bright performances in the Night Series, where they reached the semi-finals, Armadale have slumped to successive league defeats against Perth, ECU Joondalup and Floreat Athena.
The importance of victory against Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve tomorrow has not been lost on Price.
“It’s a big game for both clubs,” he said.
“Balcatta struggled through the pre-season and I’m sure they will be happy with the draw they got against Sorrento last week. They’ll be hoping that’s kick-started their season.”
Just three games into the season, Price believes the teams occupying the bottom four places will already be concerned about getting results to avoid a fight against potential relegation.
Subiaco, who have also failed to win a point in the opening matches, are bottom on goal difference behind Armadale, while Balcatta’s single point has put them behind fourth-from-bottom Perth Glory.
“It’s up to those teams to go on a little run of form and drag themselves away from the relegation battle,” he said.
“The confidence is there (with Armadale) at the moment but we are not playing as well as we can and players have to take responsibility.”
The arrival of English imports Alex Salmon and Ellis Healing seemed to mark instant improvement for the southern suburbs club, who scored 17 goals in five Night Series games after opening their campaign with a narrow loss to Perth.
Price has seen enough in league losses to Perth and Floreat – he has no qualms about the defeat to ECU – to be confident results can turn his side’s way.
“The players are better than what they are showing,” he said.
“We have better players and a better squad than last season.”
NPLWA ROUND 4 FIXTURES
Saturday, April 9
Perth Glory v Sorrento (Ashfield Arena, 3pm)
Floreat Athena v Subiaco (E&D Litis Stadium, 3pm)
ECU Joondalup v Perth SC (ECU Stadium, 3pm)
Bayswater City v Inglewood United (Finance 365 Stadium, 3pm)
Balcatta v Armadale (Grindleford Reserve, 3pm)
Sunday, April 10
Cockburn City v Stirling Lions (Dalmatinac Park, 5pm)