ILLAWARRA PREMIER LEAGUE
Fernhill coach Julio Miranda is stressing a strong finish to the season rather than the long shot of a semi-final spot, ahead of a home double-header weekend in Illawarra Premier League.
Seventh-placed Fernhill are seven points behind fifth-placed Wollongong Olympic and face Bulli today, then back up against Dapto Dandaloo tomorrow in their rescheduled round 15 clash.
Fernhill are coming off a 6-0 thrashing of surely-relegated Coniston, and while they still have 12 points up for grabs from winning their final four games, Miranda says the emphasis this weekend is more about playing well against two teams above them on the ladder.
"Mathematically, we can still make it [the semis] but, realistically, it's a bit of a long shot," Miranda said.
"If we happen to beat Bulli, then we can look at things more closely on Sunday.
"But, really, our goal is just to play well and finish as high as possible."
He has confidence they can match it with good sides and said the team just wants to keep improving.
Miranda isn't pleased to have to face Bulli and the Fury within 24 hours but won't be resting players for either game.
"Twenty years ago, a double header was the norm but you wouldn't think so today.
"It's not ideal but we'll have close to our strongest team available against Bulli, and then ... get ready for the Fury."
With a game in hand tomorrow, sixth-placed Dapto Dandaloo face a hugely significant game today against third-placed Wollongong United.
The Fury trail Wollongong Olympic by two points and with Olympic not playing until tomorrow - away to South Coast United - the Fury will leapfrog Olympic into fifth spot by winning against United at Macedonia Park.
In today's other round 20 matches, Tarrawanna host Woonona, while leaders Port Kembla should all but clinch the League Championship by beating Coniston at JJ Kelly Park.
Port lead Bulli by six points plus have an eight-goal superior goal difference, which they should add to against a Coniston side that has conceded 18 goals in two games.