NPL - Lions focus returns to Athena
NPL - Lions focus returns to Athena

After the excitement of this morning’s Westfield FFA Cup draw, Stirling Lions will get back to business on Sunday when they take on Floreat Athena in a National Premier Leagues WA match at E&D Litis Stadium.

Stirling have earned a glamour FFA Cup tie against Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar but they will not be distracted from the immediate job at hand.

Despite last week’s stunning 5-1 win against Perth Glory’s NPL WA team, midfielder Dean Evans knows his side has room for improvement.

“Last week was a positive result for the club, and obviously it was great to score five goals,” he said.

“But again we started slowly and went behind in the game, which has been a bit of a problem for us of late, and we will need to get that right against a confident Floreat side.”

There will be added spice to the game for Evans, who will line-up opposite his old teammate Ludovic Boi in midfield.

“Games between the two sides are always an entertaining spectacle, especially with so much history and passion between them,” Evans said. “We know it means a lot to both sets of fans.

“It’s always good fun to come up against ex-team mates and Ludo and I both know that there’s a job to do.”

The Lions welcome back skipper Andy Brown from suspension. Aleks Vrteski and Phil Arnold also return to the squad.

Floreat go into the game without suspended Bobby Wilson, but skipper Callum Fransz believes it will be a great game and has been impressed with the promotion of the Rivalry Round.

“I think our fixture is one that truly justifies the title ‘Rivalry Round,” he said. "With a young and strong supporter base, it's fantastic to have a rivalry round to give added enthusiasm to the hype. It also gives the players a little bit more to play for, and helps them understand the passion of the supporters.”

Fransz moved back to a central defensive position last week and will look to continue his impressive form after the 4-1 win at Joondalup.

“Finally we've proven to ourselves that we are contenders for the top four, and that we can play good football and win games,” he said. “But we know we will have to be at our best.”

Rivalry Round Fixtures - Saturday: Sorrento v ECU Joondalup (Percy Doyle Reserve 3pm); Balcatta v Inglewood United (Grindleford Reserve, 3pm); Perth Glory v Subiaco AFC (Intiga Stadium, 3pm); Armadale v Cockburn City (Alfred Skeet Reserve, 3pm); Bayswater City v Perth (Frank Drago Reserve, 3pm).

Sunday: Floreat Athena v Stirling Lions (E&D Litis Stadium, 3pm).

The West Australian

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