ALM Match Preview: Consistency the key for RZ as Finals race hots up

Glory Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich believes that a greater level of consistency is required from his charges if their bid for Finals football is to be successful.

The men in purple currently sit one point and one place outside the top six ahead of Sunday’s clash with Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park (kick-off at 1pm WST), with every team below them also still in with a chance of extending their season in what is an incredibly open competition.

And Zadkovich feels that if Glory can replicate some of their home performances in the next two games on the road, they have every chance of featuring in the Finals.

View his full media conference HERE.

“I definitely feel like we’re capable of making the six,” he said.

“I feel that we’ve shown at times… what we’re about and we’ve beaten teams that are above us on the ladder.

“We’ve been very good at home and some of our performances have shown just how good we can be on our day.

“So for us, it’s about consistency and rectifying that away form.

“We’ve had some very narrow losses on the road and games where we should have drawn or won and some performances where we dominated possession, or final-third entries, or shots on goal.

“There’s been some good markers in games to say that we should have got more.

“If we can improve in that area, we’re a big, big threat.”

Just one of Glory’s seven wins this term has come on their travels, but Zadkovich believes that the key to adding further away points to that tally is contained within a wider search for improvement.

“I feel like we’ve improved and shown some good progression in the right areas to get us into a position where we can now challenge for Finals again,” he said.

“I’d love us to improve our away form, but for that to happen, we have to focus on the process of improvement.

“Rather than focusing on away form, good or bad, we’re focusing on the process of improving in the areas that we feel we need to.

“The boys have trained very well and when they do that, it usually points to a good performance.

“We’re very excited for this opportunity.”

The Head Coach went on to confirm that he is expecting Victory to provide a stern challenge as they seek to keep their own Finals hopes alive and that in terms of squad news, Aaron McEneff (quad) is Glory’s only confirmed fresh injury concern.

“They [Victory] are a little bit like other teams and us at times… they’ve had some good performances and narrow losses,” he said.

“The margins are very small.

“They’re quite a dangerous side and are in a decent run of form, so we expect a really difficult game.

“We’ve got a few sore bodies… and a few niggles and minor injuries to contend with and our medical team and physio team are working hard to get all players back on deck.

“But the ones that are on the pitch at the moment have been training really well and that’s a big positive.

“Aaron is ruled out this week.

“We’re still waiting for a bit of clarity on his injury.

“It doesn’t look too bad, but it’ll definitely keep him out this week.

“Hopefully he’ll still play a part at the back end of this year.”

Tony Popovic’s Victory will head into Sunday’s clash off the back of a narrow defeat in Wednesday’s replayed Melbourne Derby against City, with that reverse following on from consecutive wins which had reignited their Finals hopes.

Among the navy-and-whites’ standout performers this term have been former Glory midfielder Jake Brimmer, who has scored three goals and added three assists in his 17 appearances, another ex-Glory man, Bruno Fornaroli, who is their leading scorer with seven and versatile Spaniard Cadete, who has been a virtual ever-present in the starting line-up.

Glory’s last six meetings with Victory at AAMI Park have yielded an even split of three wins apiece and the visitors will be looking to do the double over Popovic’s side this season having run out 3-1 winners when the two sides met at Macedonia Park in Round 13.