FOR FC Bendigo coach Steve Martin, Tuesday night’s clash with Melbourne City is not about the result.
Melbourne City is expected to win and, more than likely, win comfortably.
For Martin, the game is about opportunity.
An opportunity for his young squad to learn from one of Australia’s premier teams and an opportunity for Bendigo soccer to lift its profile.
“It’s going to be an exciting night,’’ Martin said.
“To have a club of Melbourne City’s profile and reputation coming to Bendigo is great for our sport and the region.
“It’s testament to how far the sport has come in Bendigo.
“It’s a great opportunity for everyone involved.”
FC Bendigo played an NPL game last Saturday and has another game this Saturday which makes Martin’s job of managing his squad for the Melbourne City match even tougher.
“We’re juggling a few injuries and George Slefendorfas is away playing with Papua New Guinea, but we want to be competitive,’’ Martin said.
“The younger guys in our squad will get their chance to play.
“The experience they get out of this game will help their development.
“You never know what opportunity this game could bring.
“A good performance from some of our players might leave an imprint in the minds of the City coaching staff and it could lead to a trial down the track.
“That’s what FC Bendigo is all about – providing a pathway for our young players to get opportunities at the next level.”
Martin was hopeful the Bendigo community will embrace Tuesday night’s game.
“We’d love to see a big crowd there to watch not only Melbourne City, but to have a look at FC Bendigo to see where we’re at as a club,’’ he said.
“There’s probably some people out there that are sitting on the fence as far as getting involved with FC Bendigo.
“We encourage all the BASL clubs to come along as well because we don’t want an us versus them mentality.
“Hopefully, a game like this can help show everyone what we are trying to achieve.”