Zach Anderson rises above the pack during the 2010 National Youth League grand final at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.
Zach Anderson rises above the pack during the 2010 National Youth League grand final at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. Cameron Spencer

Zach's up for A-league challenge

FOOTBALL: Zach Anderson knows the challenge that lies ahead of him if he is to cement a position in Gold Coast United’s backline for the 2011-12 A-League season.

The Sunshine Coast player is locked in a battle with his captain, Michael Thwaite, and experienced campaigner Kristian Rees for the coveted centre-back spot.

But it is a challenge the 20-year-old is relishing and he could get a chance to further stake his claim for the position when United takes on the Sunshine Coast Fire tonight in a friendly at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

“There’s a lot of competition for places and that’s healthy in a squad,” Anderson told the Daily yesterday.

“There’s been a big change (in the playing roster) and we’ve got a lot of young boys coming through. There’s plenty of enthusiasm and everyone is eager to impress.

“Personally, I’m just looking at playing as many games as I can and playing the best football I can.

“I know I’ll get the opportunity. I just have to take it when it comes.”

Anderson spent his junior years playing for Caloundra Shelly Park United before switching to Maroochydore Swans for the early part of his senior career.

He moved to a Brisbane club when he realised a professional career was a reality and has played four A-League matches for United over the past two seasons.

Anderson is battling a groin strain and is unlikely to play many minutes tonight but he is hopeful the upcoming season will be a breakthrough one for him.

“I’ve played two games in each of the last two years and it’s been tough because I’m up against some great players in the position I play,” he said.

“But I’ve been fortunate enough to get a few minutes and experience what it takes to play at A-League level.

“I’ve learnt a lot of over these last few months and I’m hoping that will hold me in good stead come round one in October.”

Gold Coast go into camp at Hyatt Regency Coolum today and will showcase their new playing strips this afternoon.

Goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson, another Sunshine Coast player, will not play in tonight’s match because of a back injury.

The match starts at 7pm.

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