Lions FC’s Nathan Shepherd says the season is theirs for the taking ahead of this weekend’s pivotal top-of-the-table clash with Moreton Bay United.
The league leaders host the second-placed Jets on Saturday, with victory gifting the winner outright first atop the NPL Queensland standings.
Lions enter the match having won its last six league outings, while Jets remain unbeaten in the league since March – most recently smashing fellow title aspirants Western Pride 5-1 last weekend.
But with two extra games in hand, Shepherd believes that victory will set his side up for a stunning title-run in their maiden state league season.
“We know that it’s now in our hands to win the league – if we win our games, we win the league,” said the 26-year-old.
“For the club to win it in their first season in the NPL would be unbelievable. At the start of the season, no one saw us finishing in the top four.”
“But if we win this weekend, it’s going to give us a good chance of bringing home the title. We believe we can keep that consistency going.”
However, despite seeing off the Jets 2-0 in their previous meeting this season, Shepherd knows this weekend’s opponents can still pose a serious challenge to Lions title aspirations.
“They’re up near the top of the table for a reason and I think they’re similar to us, maybe flying under the radar and picking up some good results.”
“Look at last week’s score line, they smashed Pride, so we’ve got to make sure we put in a good performance, and we’re definitely capable of it.”
“It’s going to be a spectacle, between first and second, two really good teams, and will be great to watch for the neutral.”
Regardless of this weekend’s result, Lions also face a difficult few weeks, with a series of tough away games on the horizon and the added pressure of their FFA Cup campaign, which has now entered the national stages.
“We’ve still got a number of tough away trips coming up, away to Cairns and Toowoomba, so we know every game’s going to be hard.”
“Towards the end of the season, even if you’re looking at playing against teams at the bottom half of the league, they’re fighting for survival.”
“But we don’t really worry up how teams are going to set up against us – it’s more about us putting in the performances we know we can produce.”
Lions and Jets are currently tied on 45 points competition apiece and are separated only by Lions’ impervious defensive record, with only 9 goals conceded all season.
Lions FC vs Moreton Bay United FC
Saturday, July 14 | 6:00PM
Lions Stadium, Richlands
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