THE next two Football Mid North Coast Premier League matches could determine Taree's finals hopes.
Taree meet Kempsey Saints tomorrow at Kempsey in a game deferred from the opening round of the season while they take on Camden Haven on Saturday July 20 at Omaru Park.
Camden Haven sits in fifth place, three clear of Taree and Kempsey. However, the Taree/Kempsey clash is the only game scheduled for this weekend as it's a general bye in the competition. Successive wins would give the Wildcats a great shot at claiming the last spot in the playoffs.
This will be Taree's second trip to Kempsey in a week as last Saturday they were hammered 6-2 by Macleay Rangers. The Wildcats had injury problems then and captain-coach Jordan Howard hopes they'll be closer to full strength tomorrow.
"It looks as though Tom Griffen will be out, but we'll get Lucas Mepham and Callum Griffis back,'' Howard said.
A corked leg will sideline Griffen.
Howard believes structurally Taree holds the edge against Kempsey Saints, a team he notes, the Wildcats usually play well against.
"Defensively we don't give them a lot of chances,'' he said.
"But we also have to take our opportunities.''
Howard stressed that a loss tomorrow wouldn't necessarily spell the end to Taree's playoff hopes. However, he said it will mean the Wildcat will be relying on other results going their way, while also needing to gain points from matches against top four sides.
"We don't want to be in that situation,'' Howard said.