MATCH PREVIEW | Venue change as Essendon Royals welcome Whittlesea United SC

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The Essendon Royals continue their State League 1 Men’s North-West campaign in the slightly new surrounds of JH Allen Reserve this Saturday when Whittlesea United SC comes to town.

As the Cross Keys Reserve pitch continues to bed in following its recent redevelopment, the Royals will play their crucial Round 15 match at the new venue at Park Drive, Keilor East.

But coach Vaughan Coveny is determined to ensure his players keep focussed on the task at hand ahead of what is being viewed as a must-win match for the Royals.

Essendon impressed in the second half against league leaders Preston Lions last Friday night, staging an impressive comeback which, thanks in large part to the unbelievable heroics of the Preston goalkeeper, unfortunately, fell just short of snatching a point or even all three in a 3-2 loss.

A slow start ultimately proved costly last week and Coveny is under no illusions that his players need to be better prepared for kick-off this week.

Given the proximity of the two teams of the table, it would be easy to classify this game as a “must-win” game for the Royals, but coach Coveny said that ladder position has nothing to do with it, insisting that his players need to treat every game as “must-win”.

“Every game we go into is with the intent to win. We need to build that winning mentality within the group,” he said.

“Slow starts have cost us definitely in the last couple of games so we are hoping we can learn our lesson from that and be better prepared.”

The Royals went down 2-1 to Whittlesea last time they faced each other in Round 4 at Epping Stadium.

“They proved to be a quality side in when we played them and we are expecting another tough encounter.”

Royals will have to make do without recent signing Davey Van’t Schip who remains sidelined with an injury, however, the rest of the squad is fit and raring to go for Saturday’s clash.

Whittlesea travels to Essendon in the midst of a winless drought.

In fact, United’s last win came all the way back in Round 4 against the Royals, losing three and drawing two of their last five games.

Essendon will be keen to ensure that doesn’t change this Saturday.

Seniors kick-off at 3 pm. JH Allen Reserve is located on Park Drive, Keilor East.

In the Reserves, the Royals will be hoping to get back to winning ways following two-straight losses.

Whittlesea’s reserves team has struggled for form and have lost their last five games.

The reserves kick-off at 1 pm.

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