Dragons to face defending champs

Lee Padmore
Lee Padmore
The Canterbury United Dragons face a difficult task first up when they visit defending champions Eastern Suburbs in the opening round of the national league on Sunday.

The Dragons have been together for seven weeks and played one pre-season match against – a 2-1 win against Southern United. New coach Lee Padmore says he was “relatively happy” with what he saw from the side.

He believes character will be key for the Dragons this campaign and wants the side to epitomise Canterbury as a region with the way they play the game.

“It’s going to be hardworking, it’s going to be in your face, it’s going to be one of those teams that nobody’s ever going to get a sniff in regards to having any time to dictate a game against us,” said Padmore.

“We pushed some boundaries in regards to the way the boys think and what we’re going to have to do this year to be a little bit different in order to compete . . . we haven’t got the finances of a few of the top teams, but we’ve got to make sure we’re sweet in the other departments of football.”

The Dragons squad is made up of predominantly local players, but they bought in the services of defender Tom Scott who moves south from the Wellington Phoenix academy, former Canadian under-20 internationalforward Calum Ferguson and Australian midfielder Reece Dalton.

Sunday’s match against Eastern Suburbs kicks off at 4pm and will be shown live on Sky Sport.

Dragons squad – Eddie Ashton, Dan Terris, Benji Lapslie, Dan Schwarz, Tom Scott, George King, Luke Tongue, Haris Zeb, Reece Dalton, James Pendrigh, Juan Chang, Sean Liddicoat, Calum Ferguson, Cory Mitchell, Harrison Bowman, Aaron Clapham, Sam Field, Jacob Richards, Sam Lapslie, Danny Knight, Abdul Khalif.

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