Cougars supporters will be hoping Michael Cay will return to the team and celebrate like he did last season when scoring a goal.
Cougars supporters will be hoping Michael Cay will return to the team and celebrate like he did last season when scoring a goal. Sharyn Oneill

Cay in line to return for Cougars

MICHAEL Cay is set to return to the Cougars for tonight's game against Bundaberg Spirit, in a move that should provide a boost to the beleaguered team.

While the Cougars are up-beat about the possibility, Cay said there were still a few things to be sorted out before he pulled on the purple shirt.

As one of the Cougars' “invitation” players, Cay would still be aligned to his Berserker club, something he insists upon.

However, a problem appears to be his eligibility to play for both clubs over the same weekend, with the ruling stating that if an invitation player has more than 20 minutes on the park for the Cougars he can't step down and play for his club on the same weekend.

Cay admitted he had thought about returning to the Cougars. His decision to return to training with the squad came following an approach from a friend who is still with the team.

“I was asked to go down and train by Joe Burke,” he said. “I'm willing to play.”

Although only 24, Cay is one of the more experienced members of the squad and was a member of the first Cougars team.

He is adamant that if rules surrounding local clubs and the Cougars were relaxed, or the Cougars had a reserve team in the local premier competition, some of the better local senior players would make themselves available.

“I'd like to get there (Cougars) and I'd like to have a run up front,” Cay said.

Whether coach Washington Gonzales sees things that way is yet to be seen, but the coach is delighted Cay has made the first step by returning to training with the Cougars.

After the 14-1 drubbing from the Sunshine Coast last week it was announced another fringe player, Jordan Rose, was no longer willing to be a part of the squad, leaving the coach with just 14 players.

However, Gonzales refuses to let these setbacks get him down as he looks ahead to next season, when he hopes the promising young players in the current squad will be more competitive.

While the young players are learning more about the game, Gonzales is delighted with their attitude after last week's defeat.

The coach said the squad had had a good week on the training pitch and was keen to post a result against Bundaberg.

“Everybody is looking forward to the game,” he said.

Having so few in the squad rules out the possibility of wholesale changes but Gonzales would like to move his captain, Trevor Wood, out of the back four to the defensive midfield role he was originally brought into the squad to play.

Englishman Matt Fisk is set to arrive on May 17, in time for the second round of the Hyundai QSL competition. Hopefully he will debut on May 28, when the Cougars host Gold Coast.

Bundaberg is level on points with the Cougars at the bottom of the ladder but has a better goal difference.

Last week the Spirit lost 3-1 at home against FNQ Bulls but coach Tony Roebuck believes his team is better than that.

The team had a number of injuries, including English import Kallum Nix and Solomon Island international Commins Menapi, against the Bulls.

THE COUGARS

The squad for tonight's match at Jardine Park against Bundaberg Spirit (kick off 7pm): Tim English, Joe Burke, Max Thompson, Trevor Wood, Matt Sauer, Jarrod Lancaster, Johnathon Sauer, Tim Hickey, Matt Davy, Chris Swain, Tyler Stross, Bryce Ruthven, Chris Thomson, (Michael Cay) Patrick Grice, Robbie Day (gk).

Points after Saturday's games: Sunshine Coast 22, Strikers 12, Razorbacks 9, QAS 8, FNQ Bulls 8, Gold Coast 7, Miners 6, Bundaberg 1, Cougars 1. Southern Cross 4* has withdrawn.



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