MATCH PREVIEW | FC Clifton Hill v Essendon Royals SC | Men's State League 1 North-West

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The Essendon Royals will be looking to bounce back from the disappointment of last week as they hit the road to Clifton Hill on Saturday.

The Royals suffered their worst defeat of the season at Sydenham Park last week and senior coach Vaughan Coveny said the players knew their showing last week was unacceptable.

“They know last week was not good enough,” Coveny surmised.

“But thankfully, the response on the training track has been positive.

“After last week, we will be looking at how [the players] all train this week and decide towards the end of the week how we’re going to line up.”

One player who is definitely out of contention is Joel Nikolic after last week’s red card.

With relegation not a possibility this season due to Football Victoria’s upcoming restructure, the Royals are playing for pride as they look to move away from the bottom spot of the ladder.

Clifton Hill sits second from bottom, just one point better off than the Royals after eight rounds.

Clifton Hill has lost its last four games on the trot, although their one victory this season did come against Keilor Park SC.

Both teams will be desperate for the win on Saturday as they look to put some distance between themselves and their closest rivals.

Pack Mentality: The Royals will need to stick together and find a new level of performance this week.

Pack Mentality: The Royals will need to stick together and find a new level of performance this week.

Coveny said the Royals couldn’t be picky when it came to getting wins at this stage of the season but said his biggest priority was getting his players to play their best football and give their all for the team.

“Winning is always good but ultimately we are looking for players to perform to their best,” he said.

“If we have that winning mentality I’m positive results will follow.

“We know we’re in for another tough encounter away from home where we will have to be switched on from the first whistle.”

The Royals have only played Clifton Hill at Quarries Park three other times in its history, winning one (a 1-0 win in 1995), losing one (3-1 in 1992) and drawing the other (1-1 last season).

The game kicks off at 3 pm at Quarries Park.

In the 1 pm kick-off, the Royals Reserves will be looking to build on last week’s impressive 4-0 win away to Sydenham.

With spots in Saturday’s squad up for grabs, coach Emmet Sheehan may have a somewhat changed lineup, but he will be hopeful of another strong performance whichever XI he fields on the day.

The Clifton Hill reserves have only won one game this season and find themselves bottom of the table after eight rounds.

The Royals sit sixth with a game in hand on four of the five teams above them and could move as high as fourth on the table with a win on Saturday.

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