SHOWDOWN: Clinton and Central will mark a high point on the 2018 soccer calendar.
SHOWDOWN: Clinton and Central will mark a high point on the 2018 soccer calendar. Mike Richards GLA260817SOCC

Pre-season starts tonight for Clinton

SOCCER: Clinton Football Club have taken the first steps last night to erase the bitter straight sets finals exit in 2017.

Assistant coach Dan Horton said pre-season will start tonight with enthusiasm from a squad which has kept most key players.

"We are keen to get back into the swing of things and plan on attacking the pre-season with gusto and prepare for a really positive season," he said.

"We were really disappointed with the way last season ended in both divisions given we had performed so well for the majority of the year and to not make the grand final for the first time in 10 years was especially difficult.

"But in a positive way we now know the feeling most teams have felt the last decade and we will use it to fuel our pre-season training."

Returning players such as Sammy Roberts has offset the loss of Dominic Barra. "He is just as quick so that's a great pick up for our squad," Horton said of Roberts.

Practice games are planned next month to give the Clinton players plenty of match experience ahead of the season proper.

"We have a few pre-season games lined up in February against quality opposition with a few other options available should we feel we need for game time which will be a good reward for the boys after slogging it out for the first five or six weeks which is always hard going," Horton said.

With the addition of Central in the Premier League, Horton said it's great for Gladstone soccer.

"There's nothing better than a local derby so we will be marking that on the calendar as soon as the fixtures are released," he said.