Newcastle Jets-bound Kaine Sheppard says good players in the NPL will get their chance if they can only keep their consistency.
The 24-year-old will play in tonight’s NPL VIC Grand Final at AAMI Park against his old side Heidelberg United.
Sheppard is from the UK and played for English clubs Leyton Orient, St Albans City. Braintree Town, Histon FC as well as a stint in Finland last year.
The boy from Wellingborough has enjoyed his football at Avondale, scoring 17 goals from 38 games in his time at the club.
The striker said the good players needed to be patient and persistent in order to get noticed by A-League clubs.
“There’s a lot of players that want to push on, but at the same time, you can’t just focus on that because it takes you away from what you’re doing during the season,” Sheppard told FTBL at the FFV Gold Medal Night.
“If you just continue to do what you’re doing during the season, then hopefully people will look into it more.
“With the new teams coming into the league, there could be more opportunities and the players who are consistent will get their chance.
“When I came to Australia, I always wanted to push and see how far I could go. Going to Finland last year was a big learning experience for me and coming back I managed to get some things into place here.
“You always want to push yourself a bit higher and I know there’s plenty of players in the NPL that can go higher, so it’s exciting.
“Josh Wilkins from Heidelberg is a machine and he gets up and down that wing all the time. He’s always a threat, he can get forward, he’s quick and he can defend. He can definitely do it, but it’s up to the teams to give him that chance.
“My teammate Joey Katebian has been on an A-League list and he could definitely return there.”
Sheppard will be on the plane to Newcastle next week to join his new teammates, but still has unfinished business tonight.
The Avengers have the wood over the Bergers in the NPL, however Heidelberg managed to knock Avondale out of the Docherty Cup semi-final this year.
Both teams played midweek games that went to extra-time, but Sheppard said he preferred more matches.
“We know what Heidelberg are about and how they play, they’re a dominant force,” he said.
“It’s going to be a tough game whatever happens, but we’re just going to approach it like any other game and do what we do best.
“They had to travel during the week whereas we played at home against Sydney FC, but when you do well during the season, you’re going to play more games and we’ve both done well this season.
“It’s been a big couple of weeks, but sometimes you just have keep a big deep breath and look forward to these games, they’re the ones you want to play in.”