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Emblen gives youth a chance

A number of youths are being blooded into Western Springs’ Lotto NRFL Division One side as they hunt for promotion back to the Premier Division.

Springs were relegated from the Premier Division at the end of the 2016 season and while disappointing, Emblen searched for the positives.

“We were bitterly disappointed to get relegated last year, especially when we felt we had enough chances in the last two games to get the points we needed,” Emblen said.

“I tried to be positive and the fact that we are playing in a lower league this year, it has given me the opportunity to blood a lot of our National U-19 Championship team players who may not have got the opportunity if we were still in the premier division.”

One of those youngsters getting a chance is midfielder Scott Sellar.

“Scott is having a superb season.

“He gives 100 percent every game and is a great example of a local boy coming through the system.

“He has been a club member for around 15 seasons and is part of the fabric of this club and a great example for our youth players playing in the Metro and Conference leagues to follow.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Emblen notes the experience of a handful of older heads in the team as pivotal to the team’s success.

“Elliott Munford, another player who has spent his whole footballing career at Springs, is having a superb season in goal.

“Adam Dickinson’s goals have been vital and he is integral to our challenge for promotion as are Jonathan Quinn, Brian Shelley and Chris Bale who have all been very consistent performers in our back four.

The performances of Munford, Quinn, Shelley and Bale have helped Springs to have one of the best defensive records in the league.

“We haven’t been focussing on defence a lot,” Emblen admitted.

“As mentioned before, we have a fairly consistent back four and Elliot doing well in goal.

“I ask our forwards to work hard pressing opponents and our midfielders to be disciplined and honest, so it’s more team ethic that has helped.”

The quartet will need to keep up their consistent performances with just seven games remaining in what is a tight promotion race.

“We are thinking we will need to win all seven of our remaining games to gain promotion and then see what happens for the other three promotion rivals.

“The league is certainly reaching an exciting climax and I’m hoping we can jump back up at the first attempt.

“Over the 22 game season you end up with what you deserve which is why I had no complaints about relegation last season.

“This season will be no different; bring it on.”

Western Springs’ next Lotto NRFL match is on Saturday 22 July when they host Mt Albert Ponsonby.

Photo courtesy www.phototek.co.nz