Pantelidis: GCU have lifted

Gold Coast United hardman Steve Pantelidis believes the sheer presence of returning marksman Shane Smeltz in the dressing room has given the entire side a much-needed boost ahead of Friday night's matchup with North Queensland at Skilled Park.

Gold Coast United hardman Steve Pantelidis believes the sheer presence of returning marksman Shane Smeltz in the dressing room has given the entire side a much-needed boost ahead of Friday night's matchup with North Queensland at Skilled Park.

Since Smeltz's departure in Round 2, United have missed him dearly up forward and their attacking bluntness has been no more apparent than in the past month, which has seen the club knock in just two goals in four winless weeks.

But with the New Zealand international back at the club he scored 19 goals for last season, Pantelidis says the enthusiasm and energy that has been missing from recent performances has returned and should be on full display against the Fury.

"Everyone has probably lifted about 5-10 percent to be honest. It's good to have him back. He scored 19 goals last year and I don't think you forget how to play in four months," Pantelidis said.

"He's lifted the place a bit I'd say so we're looking forward to having him back out there and kicking some more goals for us."

"It's good to have players like Smeltzy in and it's a big boost, and it'll make the competition for places in the team even tougher on the run home which is always a good thing."

Last time the Fury came to the Glitter Strip it was a disappointing night for United, losing 2-1 courtesy of two memorable goals from livewire David Williams and captain Ufuk Talay.

Pantelidis, who returns from suspension after missing last weekend's 2-0 loss away to Sydney FC, says Gold Coast will be out to avenge not only that poor display at home against Franz Straka's side, but to rescue a charge for second spot that will be at serious risk of floundering if United cannot pick up three points against the last-placed Fury.

"Last time they beat us here so we know they'll be a tough opposition and their coach is very enthusiastic, and that rubs off on the players. It's going to be a tough one but we should get the points," he said.

"I don't think we've won in the last few games so it's a big one for us, and it's the Queensland derby against the Fury. The boys are really looking forward to it. They're a dangerous team with David Williams and players like that, and it will be a tough challenge."

"But the boys are fired up since we were so disappointed with our performance in Sydney, so we're looking forward to it."

Pantelidis also expressed his best wishes for the victims of south-east Queensland's devastating flood crisis, which he admits has made focusing on the task at hand difficult with such distress at his doorstep.

"Hopefully with all the donations and support everything can be sorted out. A lot of lives have been lost, it's all over the news and it's very sad. We wish everyone the best of luck and hope everyone can pull through it," he said.