FC Nelson coach encourages push for Mainland Premier League promotion
FC Nelson coach Paul Brydon is encouraging a push for Mainland Premier League promotion after winning Nelson's division one football title for the first time since 2013.
With the emergence of Tasman United in the ISPS Handa Premiership, Brydon said the time was right for Nelson to have two teams in the Mainland Football's winter competition.
"I'd love to see two teams [in the Mainland Premier League]," Brydon said.
"Imagine seeing Suburbs versus FC at home at Guppy Park and then away at Saxton Field. I remember when Richmond were in the Mainland League and they were great competitive games."
In order to push for promotion, the club would need to declare their interest with Mainland Football prior to the start of the 2018 season. They would then need to win the division one competition to set up a playoff with the winner of Canterbury's second-tier competition.
Brydon said Tasman would benefit if Nelson had two Mainland teams to feed from.
"With Tasman United I think it's time for it to move on but whether it happens, it's all about dollars and cents at the end of the day. But I think this team could easily compete with someone like Selwyn or those bottom teams."
Brydon is also backing 19-year-old midfielder Labu Pan earn a Tasman contract after his strong season.
Pan, who was FC's top scorer with 20 goals this season, made one appearance for Tasman during the 2016-17 campaign and remains eligible to play in the National Youth League.
It is a massive jump from division one to the national league though but Pan's age should count in the former Nelson College captain's favour.
"I said to him at the start of the season that he probably should be playing Mainland but he's been at college for the past few years and Davor [Tavich] runs him pretty hard so he wanted to have a season off and just relax and enjoy his football, but you still have to do the job and he's got 20-odd goals from 20 games," Brydon said.
"He's a quality player, he's got a great attitude, he loves training and he's a great kid and once he gets back with [Paul] Ifill and those experienced guys he'll shine and I think he will punch well above his weight."