4 play with Fire for 2 spots
SUNSHINE Coast Fire coach Paul Arnison says there is a genuine jostle for spots among the side's skilful imports.
The National Premier Leagues Queensland outfit has four international players but only two can be selected in match day squads.
American midfielder Garret Eldridge took a chance when he linked with the Fire, after the club had already secured the services of Scotland attacker Glody Ntumba and England defender Connor Hancock.
He paid for his own flights to the Coast, booked himself into a hotel and then trialled with the side.
And it appears to be paying off.
Arnison is ultra-impressed by the 24-year-old during the pre-season.
"He turned up at training and form the first session, he was excellent," the coach said.
"He set standards with his work rate and his ability on the ball. Some of that I've only seen in England at professional outfits. I'm not being disrespectful to the (other) boys but his enthusiasm at training session was great.
"I'm excited to see him play. If training is anything to go by then we've got a bit of footballer on our hands."
Japanese midfielder Shiochi Koshimizu is also expected to be a handful for opposing sides.
He was with the Fire in 2014 when he developed somewhat of a cult following for his antics.
He came back to the team this year seeking another opportunity and on Tuesday, hours after arriving, was an animated participant at the Australia Day celebrations at Aussie World.
"He's a character and that's what we're after," Arnison said.
"It's when the team is attacking that Shiochi comes alive and he's a clever footballer who can make things happen, with a killer pass."
With Ntumba and Hancock, who the Daily featured in Friday's edition, there is plenty of pre-season competition for positions in the team
"It's a good problem to have," Arnison said.
"We've got four boys fighting for two places. I know a couple of them are going to be disappointed but at the same time I know the standard at training is good because they're keeping each other on their toes and working hard and setting examples for other players."
The Fire is set to collide with Sunshine Coast Football premier men's heavyweights Kawana or Maroochydore next week as it continues its build-up to the season proper.The Fire suffered a shock 1-0 trial loss to Holland park on Saturday.