Magic’s future focus

Aaron O'Driscoll. (Ljubica Vrankovic)

Tara Murray

Altona Magic has one eye on the future in the National Premier League competition.

The Magic sit in ninth spot after 18 rounds and still remain in the hunt for a second straight finals series.

At the other end of the scale, the Magic is 10 points clear of the bottom three sides.

While finals are still alive, coach Goran Lozanovski said that wasn’t their main focus this season.

“The challenge is to make sure we’re staying in the NPL,” he said.

“To finish in the top six would be a bonus. From day dot, we’ve been preparing for the future, not just this season.

“We’ve identified five or six players that we’re looking to recontract. The focus is the future and we want to identify a few mature players in certain positions on the park for next season.

“When the window opens up, we’ll be looking more long term than short term.”

On Saturday, the Magic had a 0-0 draw with Green Gully. Like the Magic, Green Gully sits outside the top six.

Lozanovski said it wasn’t a pretty game to watch.

“It was a bit of a dull affair,” he said. “We didn’t want to win the game, we were really defensive minded than attacking.

“It was a fair result with the way that we played. It wasn’t an entertaining match, it was just one of those games.”

Lozanovski said both teams had some chances to get a score on the board, but both keepers were able to put in some good saves.

He said sometimes with a young side you are going to see ups and downs from week to week.

“Coming off last week with a 4-0 victory, they just couldn’t deliver,” he said. “We know deep down we are a really young side and we have to play at our best every week.

“When we’re not doing that, we’re in the position we are in.”

The Magic this week face South Melbourne on Friday night. The challenges don’t get any bigger than this.

“They are sitting on top of the table,” Lozanovski said. “It’ll be a tough encounter and a learning curve for our group.

“We’ve looking forward to it. Top sides don’t want to play mid table sides. We have to make sure we are better than this week.”

Altona City remains in touching space with the top sides in the Victorian Premier League 2 competition despite a draw on the weekend.

Altona City hosted the Goulburn Valley Suns on Saturday night

Scores were locked at 0-0 before both teams scored in the second half, to finish in a 1-1 draw.

Altona City now sits in fourth spot, three points off top spot.

Altona City this week faces Doveton.