Getting to know you: Queensland’s FFA Cup opponents

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The FFA Cup draw has been completed and there’s plenty of travel in store for the five Queensland teams in the round of 32. Four clubs will have to travel far and wide to meet their opponent while Palm Beach will host the state’s only game against South Melbourne.

There will be a distinct Queensland flavour in each of the match-ups with former Queenslanders or players that have previously plied their trade in this state featuring heavily. Given the exodus of players from the NPL Queensland in the off-season, it’s also a little quirky that each of the clubs representing that league will face Victorian opponents. Get to know our Queensland side’s opponents in the round of 32.

Lions FC v Croydon Kings

Croydon won their way through to the final 32 after a 2-0 defeat of Adelaide City last Sunday afternoon. Adelaide City defeated Brisbane Strikers in last year’s FFA Cup round of 16.

Former Brisbane Roar player, Rocky Visconte who was part of their 2011 and 2012 A-League Grand Final wins, was named man-of-the-match in Sunday’s victory. He looms as the major threat to the Lions defence as his club’s highest scorer with 11 goals in the league.

Croydon currently sit fourth in the NPL South Australia, dropping four matches from nineteen and five points off top place with seven rounds to play.

There may be another obstacle for Lions to overcome. Given the FFA Cup regulations regarding ground requirements, the match may be played on a synthetic surface. Croydon’s victory on Sunday was played at the Elite Systems Football Centre that boasts such a pitch.

FNQ Heat v Oakleigh Cannons

The Heat might be able to gain some advantage despite having to play a second successive tie away from home. Alex Smith played at Oakleigh Cannons during the 2013 Victorian Premier League season and could provide valuable insight into the Cannons set-up.

While previous coach Miron Bleiberg has moved on from the club in recent months, Jake McLean who featured heavily for Olympic in their FFA Cup campaign last year is a part of a Cannons squad that includes players with former A-League experience in ex-Brisbane Roar’s Kofi Danning and former Gold Coast United’s Steve Pantelidis.

Oakleigh were winless in their first five NPL Victoria matches but have started a slow climb up the ladder, sitting in eighth but still eight points out of a finals spot.

Brisbane Strikers v Hume City

The exodus of Queensland players to the NPL Victoria in the last off-season was well documented and Hume City is another side that boasts former Queensland talent.

Former Olympic and Brisbane Roar player Jai Ingham has netted on five occasions and is the leading scorer for his new club and Daniel Clark joined the club mid-season from Moreton Bay.

Hume City are out of the Premiership race despite sitting in fifth place, they are a massive 17 points adrift of league leaders, Bentleigh Greens but should have enough of an advantage on teams behind them in gaining a finals berth in the league.

Palm Beach v South Melbourne

It’s going to be a tough task for the Sharks to repeat their Cup success of 2014 as they host former National Soccer League powerhouse and current NPL Victoria Champions, South Melbourne, the club responsible for the development of current Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou as both player and coach.

Conferred as the Oceania Confederation’s Club of the 20th Century, they currently are in second place in the NPL Victoria, four points behind the leaders with eight matches remaining.

South Melbourne may be without the services of star player, Nick Epifano who is currently trailing in Scotland with Dundee United but once again, there is a Queensland connection in this tie. Jake Barker-Daish played seven matches for Gold Coast United before going onto play with Adelaide United while defender Michael Eager was a part of Redlands 2012 Brisbane Premier League Premiership winning side.

Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar

The ‘history’ between these clubs is well known. The Roar defeated the Wanderers in the 2014 A-League Grand Final at Suncorp Stadium 2-1 after extra time. The Roar will make successive trips to ‘Wanderland’, firstly in this FFA Cup match and once again for the opening round of the 2015 A-League.

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