After being limited to cameo appearances during the early part of this Hyundai A-League season, Brisbane Roar attacking midfielder Mitch Nichols says he’s beginning to reap the benefits of playing full games.
The 21-year-old has featured in all but one of Brisbane-s fixtures so far this season – he missed the 1-1 draw against Adelaide United while on Qantas Olyroos duty – with 11 of those appearances coming off the bench.
A recent injury to fellow midfielder Massimo Murdocca has allowed Nichols start Brisbane-s past three outings and he says he-s enjoying his longer stints on the football field.
“It-s been good to get a few starts lately,” Nichols said.
“I had to bide my time on the bench and it-s been good to finally get some 90 minute games under my belt.
“Scoring a few goals always helps too, I-m just keeping with the team structure and the gaffer has been happy with the way we-ve been playing.”
With Murdocca due back in the Roar squad for Saturday-s derby against North Queensland Fury, Nichols admitted the two were different types of players but believed there was room for both of them in the Brisbane midfield.
“We-re pretty different, Massimo is more give and go and keep it simple while I think I-m a bit more creative upfront and that-s what probably puts us apart,” he said.
“Massimo was unlucky and picked up an injury but he-s back to full fitness now and he-ll be pushing me so I-ll have to be on my toes.”
Scoring four goals so far this season, Nichols credited Brisbane-s free-flowing style of play and the hard work of the squad-s wide members as the catalysts to his run of form.
“Kosta (Barbarouses), Ivan (Franjic) and I, we-ve started to get a good understanding of the way each other plays and it-s showing,” he said.
“But it-s the whole team and the way we move the ball, we-re creating space out wide and it-s working for us.”
After putting pen to paper on a new two year contract with the current Hyundai A-League leaders last week, the excitement continues for Nichols as the squad prepares for two Queensland derbies in the space of a fortnight.
While the midfielder was born and bred on the Gold Coast and played his formative football years at Palm Beach, he said that meant nothing once he takes the field against Miron Bleiberg-s side in Boxing Day-s M1 derby.
“I-m looking forward to the two games,” he said.
“It-s going to be a hot one up in Townsville and they-re coming off a good result last night so it-ll be a tough one.
“Boxing Day is going to be exciting too, hopefully there will be a good crowd and we-ll be looking at taking the six points from the two games.”
Tickets for Brisbane Roar-s next home against Gold Coast United are available through Ticketek. Kick-off for the match is 6pm at Suncorp Stadium.