Academy Latest: First Team in good place ahead of Night Series – Walmsley

PGFC Academy First Team Head Coach John Walmsley believes his young charges are in a good place ahead of Sunday’s NPL WA Night Series opener against Bayswater City at Macedonia Park (kick-off at 5pm).

Glory will also face Fremantle City, Perth SC, Stirling Macedonia and Floreat Athena in Group B of the now-traditional pre-season tournament which runs from late January right through February.

And Walmsley is relishing the prospect of fine-tuning his preparations for the new NPL WA campaign which gets underway in mid-March.

“We have a really competitive group, the culture is good and the approach of all of the players has been superb, so we’re really pleased with where we are at the moment,” he said.

“Going into the Night Series, we’ve had one pre-season friendly against Perth RedStar last week and we’ll use the Night Series to try and get ready for the season, build on match minutes and work on what we need to do in and out of possession.

“Last year, as my first year [as Head Coach], I was getting to know that players from scratch and even getting to know the league and what’s expected and what’s needed.

“There are less unknowns this year; I know the players more, I know where we need to be a bit clearer [as coaches] and hopefully that’ll make the preparation easier.”

In terms of personnel, the Head Coach confirmed that many of last season’s hugely-successful Under-20s side will get their chance at First Team level.

“We’ve had a lot of lads that have gone into the A-League set-up,” he said, “like Daniel Bennie, Joel Anasmo, Kaelan Majekodunmi and Andriano Lebib and I may have missed a few there.

“That gives opportunities for lads in the 20s to come up, so the First Team this year is the core group of the 20s from last year moving in.

“Some of them got First Team experience towards the back end of last year as well, so it’s a continuation of that.”

On a personal note, meanwhile, Walmsley enjoyed a unique coaching opportunity during the off-season in the form of a visit to one of world football’s most famous clubs.

“Over the Christmas break I went to England as I’m between Part 2 and 3 on my Pro Licence at the minute and I had to do a club visit, so I was fortunate enough that I could make it work with Liverpool,” he said.

“I spent a week with the Under-21s leading up to their match against Athletic Bilbao in the Premier League International Cup.

“It was great to see how they run things, what their culture and environment is like and the training facilities and everything else.

“It was a fantastic experience.”

To view Glory’s full list of 2024 NPL WA Night Series fixtures, click HERE

To view Glory’s full list of 2024 NPL WA fixtures, click HERE

(picture courtesy of Tom McCarthy)