Alvarez keen to upset his title favourites

NORTHERNERS coach Jose Alvarez has vowed his side will stay competitive right through until the end of the season, albeit as also-rans in the FNB Priaulx League title chase.

Cup-tied: Frank Tobin (right) will not be able to tussle with GFC colleague Tom de la mare again this evening. (Picture by Martin Gray, 29362728)
Cup-tied: Frank Tobin (right) will not be able to tussle with GFC colleague Tom de la mare again this evening. (Picture by Martin Gray, 29362728)

Tonight, in the second Jeremie Cup semi-final, his men take on a Rovers side he believes are now favourites for the championship. But Northerners head up to Blanche Pierre Lane happy to be back and keen to make their mark over the next two-and-a-half months.

‘It was good to see the guys running around, smiling and happy to be back,’ Alvarez said after Monday night training.

Among them were long-term absentees Reece de Carteret and Luke Mollet, who have been plagued by injuries but could be in the squad tonight.

Alvarez expects the game to be close, as were both previous meetings which just went the way of the Port Soif club.

‘I don’t like to be the underdog but Rovers look very strong and solid. But if we play at the level we can I think it will be a good match.’

Alvarez admits that it has been a frustrating campaign after the club had all but wrapped up the 2019-20 title until Covid struck and the league was declared null and void.

North got themselves into that position on the back of a relatively small squad which, since, has been heavily eroded by a bad run of injuries and some players losing interest.

‘It’s been a question of numbers,’ said Alvarez. ‘Last year we were on the limit. This season we started with a strong squad but picked up a lot of injuries.’

In contrast, Rovers have enjoyed impressive squad depth.

‘To me they are favourites to win the league, without any doubt,’ said an admiring Alvarez, who believes the pressure on St Martin’s to win the many games in hand is unhelpful.

Alvarez is adamant, though, there will be no mental quitting on the campaign, regardless of the result tonight (7.30pm kick-off).

‘I won’t allow that to happen,’ said a man who knows all too well the club’s proud history.

Rovers will be without the cup-tied Frank Tobin tonight, but other than that will be at strength.

They also include new signing Jake Stevens, a forward who can play in a variety of positions and has impressed during the seven sessions the league leaders have squeezed in these past couple of weeks.

‘He looks decent and he will get a run out at some point,’ said Kevin Gillease, the Rovers coach.

The winners will face St Martin's in the final.

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