Papas pans recruitment after Cannons' Cup exit

Oakleigh Cannons coach Arthur Papas wished he had another 10 Matt Foschini’s at his disposal following the club’s heartbreaking FFA Cup quarter-final exit against Hume City on Tuesday night.

The Cannons went down 3-2 to their NPL counterparts despite leading on two occasions in the game. Foschini was the stand-out for Oakleigh but could not prevent the extra-time loss.

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The former Melbourne Victory player was forced into a position change during the match after Adam Le Cornu had to be substituted, something that Papas believes did not help his side as the game reached the final stages.

“I need another 10 Matt Foschini’s,” Papas said. “I can tell Matt to play any position on the ground and he’ll be the outstanding player not only from the quality but from the character.

“He did the job that the team needed but it wasn’t the ideal way to complete the game. We were having problems on the right side and when he came into that position that settled but we lost something as well in the meantime.

“It’s part of having a balanced squad and unfortunately we haven’t had a balanced squad because we don’t have the depth to change one defender.

“We have to make four changes in a line-up to change one position and that’s got more to do with how a club structures its recruitment.”

Papas took over from Miron Bleiberg at the beginning of the year and says the club has done well for the kind of state it was in.

Despite finishing a lowly 11th in the league this season, Papas believes the club’s success should be measured by their FFA Cup run in 2015.

“We can’t be happy but we can’t only feel the full responsibility because we weren’t here from the start,” he said.

“I walked into a room that I’ve never encountered because my last season at Oakleigh was something where there was an amazing change-room and an amazing dynamic.

“We still had very good periods in the season because we prioritized and, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if we finished 10th, 11th or 9th, everyone else is on holiday today and we were still playing.”

Foschini shared a similar view to Papas, claiming it was the worst change-room environment he has ever experienced in his playing career when he first joined the club.

“We came here to a change room that I’ve never seen before, it was a disgrace,” Foschini said.

“We tried to change it around and salvage what we can and at the end of the day we’ve made it to the last eight in the country and the last three NPL teams in the country.

“If you can’t be proud of that then you can’t be proud of much.”