Manchester Futsal Club take on London City Futsal Club at the National Cycling Centre tomorrow in what is now classed as the back end of the season.
The Blues go into the game without a win in their last two games and will be looking to bounce back with a victory and a strong performance against a side who are not to be underestimated.
Tomorrow’s opponents are unbeaten in their last five games where they have picked up 10 points in that period, one of those games included an impressive 2-1 win away at last season’s champions London Helvecia.
It will be the first game Manchester have played since the departures of Adam Oldham and Connor Woodworth to the University of Nottingham Futsal Club and first team coach Sergi Saldana has admitted his squad is slightly threadbare but remains upbeat that his side can get the win.
“We have trained really well. It will be our first match without the likes of Adam Oldham and Connor Woodworth. We also have injuries to Giles Collier, Danny Stapleton and Ilya Ovechkin so they will miss the game tomorrow. Despite this I am confident that we can get the three points so that we can start off the New Year with good feelings.”
Peri Antoniou (front row, fourth from left) and his Manchester Futsal squad back in 2011.
This game will have a touch of nostalgia as returning former Head Coach Peri Antoniou will return to the Manchester touchline once again but in the opposition dugout. Antoniou famously managed to win the FA Futsal Cup with the Blues and was full of phrase for Manchester Futsal Club prior to his visit with his London City side. Here’s what he had to say to ManchesterFutsal.com.
“I'm really excited to be facing my old club and to see some familiar friendly faces. MFC is a great club, by far the best run futsal club in the country, and I'm certainly proud to be a small part of the club's history. MFC, and specifically Simon and Ilya, was the first club to hand me full autonomy, from squad control through to frequency of training and even enabled me to build a team of coaches around the players. I was 21 and with just some UEFA Futsal Cup coaching experience as an interim assistant at what was then AGBU Ararat in Cyprus, so I still to this day owe a lot to the club for helping me further launch my involvement in the sport, as I went on to enjoy multiple UEFA Futsal Cups as Head and Assistant coach elsewhere, as well as FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Cup qualifiers with Wales. A lot of that wouldn't have happened without my time at MFC.”
“I think the game will be tight. We have some real challenges at London City with player availability and training inconsistencies which doesn't help, however we've been working to fix this and believe we will be in a better place in the coming weeks. Our last result against Loughborough was not representative of the grapple we had on the game, and having lost Marcelo, Diogo and Diego and with some key players missing such as Jared and Charlie Hyman, it'll be a tight match. I'm familiar with some of the great assets MFC have in Ilya and Sam and some of the younger talent coming through, however with the great experience of Tobias and Mindo and the energy and hunger of some of our younger lads, I reckon we can edge it.”
“MFC means a lot to me. I still keep tabs on how the squad of back then is getting on and it's great to see everyone doing so well. Those who are no longer at the club such as the Thompson and Haralambous brothers, Stuart Cook and Doug Reed who were key signings and were instrumental in our FA Cup success that season, the first trophy for the club. Even Wayo - an experienced Spanish player who I learnt lots through my time working with him. My time at MFC was both a performance and a learning environment which was highly enjoyable, and to have been part of the club that is leading and pioneering in the space of futsal development and growth in the UK is something I remain proud of - I foresee big things from MFC in the future, especially at a player production level.”
The big clash takes place tomorrow at the National Cycling Centre at 2:30pm, the first game of a double header. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Get down and support the Blues.