Lions hunting for spot in National Premier League

Preston Lions' current first 11; photo: Lions, the biggest Macedonian diaspora club, may compete in Australia’s best state league next season.

Regarding this issue, we present you an article from earlier this week that was published in the daily newspaper Preston Leader and was written by Tim Michell.

PRESTON Lions president Zoran Trajceski says the club is desperate to return to its former glory and claim a National Premier League place next season.
   Football Federation Victoria confirmed last week the winners of State League 1 North-West and South-East would be offered the chance to apply for an NPL licence, an opportunity Trajceski said the Lions would jump at.
   Preston is currently second in State League 1 North-West, having achieved an impressive unbeaten run since Andy O’Dell replaced Josip Biskic as coach.
   Trajceski said the Lions’ recent form had given the club hope it could claim a place among Victorian soccer’s elite.
   “We’ve bought a lot of experience into the club which is going to be crucial for the end of the season.” Trajceski said.
   Preston was one of Victoria’s most successful clubs during the 1980s and 1990s, competing in the National Soccer League and Victorian Premier League before being crippled by a debt of about $ 150.000 and dropping to the state leagues.
   But Trajceski said the Lions were back on track both on and off the pitch.
   “We were a big club with a lot of troubles before but now we are back and know how to go up,” he said.
   FFV football operations manager Liam Bentley told Leader no NPL1 clubs would be relegated this year, but the state league champions would be invited to apply for an NPL spot if they met the competition’s criteria.
   NPL criteria demands clubs field junior boys teams from under-12 to under-20 level, have a technical director and meet coaching accreditation standards.
   “There is no direct promotion relegation between state league and NPL, it is an application process open to State League 1 champions,” Bentley said.
   Trajceski said he was confident the Lions would be able to meet NPL standards if they can regain top spot.
   Preston came from a goal down to register a 1-1 draw with Fawkner Blues on Sunday. It tackles Western Suburbs this weekend.

After 13 rounds Preston Lions currently lies on the second place in the State League 1 North-West with 25 points, equally as leaders Moreland City who’s goal-difference is better. The Lions are on an incredible unbeaten streak of 9 games! In the same league there other two Macedonian diaspora clubs in Sydenham Park (#7) and Altona Magic (#10).

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