Football

'A massive game for us!': UKAF prepare for tough Irish test

Team captain Chief Petty Officer Danny Kerr and head coach Flight Sergeant Dyfan Pierce were speaking ahead of the grudge match.

The UKAF men's football team have been preparing for a test against the Irish Defence Forces in Havant.

The match will be shown LIVE on the Forces News Facebook page on 20 October with a 12:00 UKT kick-off confirmed.

It's the fifth match in recent history between the two teams with UKAF winning the last in 2019 to take home the Annual Perpetual Friendship Trophy.

The score over the last four matches sees the teams locked together at two wins each meaning the tensions are high for this one.

"It’s an increasing rivalry each year and they've made it a bit more official by giving the competition a name," said UKAF captain Chief Petty Officer Danny Kerr.

"It's one of the stand-out fixtures for us. This season even more so, it's a massive game for us."

The game is being held at the home of Havant & Waterlooville FC – the host ground for the 2021 Kentish Cup next month.

However, CPO Kerr does not believe that gives UKAF an advantage as they have never played at the stadium before.

He said: "Actually, it's a bit like an away game for us. Maybe it will be an advantage when it comes to the Kentish Cup and we've had this experience.

"We like to go away as a close-knit group and have everyone together for the duration."

WATCH: Highlights of the last fixture between the two teams where an own goal and a penalty proved decisive.

Regarding team selection, UKAF head coach Flight Sergeant Dyfan Pierce says he has a team that is ready, despite injury worries.

He explained: "Out of those 26 selected, we've got 21 available, actually, now 20 because we've had one player fail a fitness test.

"We've got a strong 20 and there'll be 18 getting stripped tomorrow.

"We're more or less there for the squad we will have for the Kentish Cup."

So what's the head coach expecting from the match?

He's made it clear what he thinks the result should be, saying:  "We want to win the game – simple as that really!

"We respect the Irish. They're a very good side.

"We want to play the right way. We've got a game plan that is going to lend itself to the way we want to play against the French and the Dutch."

He added: "If we play the way that we can, and we have the right intensity, work-rate and stop them from playing, we'll come away, hopefully, with a good performance and a win."