ALM Match Preview: RZ relishing underdog status ahead of Sydney clash

Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich is more than happy for his Glory side to be regarded as second-favourites ahead of Sunday’s hugely-significant ISUZU UTE A-League showdown with Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium (kick-off at 1pm WST).

Glory head east for their final away game of the regular season one place and one point behind the Sky Blues amidst a remarkable tussle for Finals places in which every club in the competition remains involved.

The men in purple have picked up just one win on their travels this term, but secured two draws in their most recent games on the road and Zadkovich believes they have what it takes to pick up three points and take a big step towards Finals football in the process.

View his full pre-match media conference HERE.

“With the amount of games between teams [in Finals contention], I feel like… there are going to be a few twists and turns,” he said.

“But it’s an important game, just looking at the ladder and where Sydney are and where we are.

“It’s a big opportunity and I feel like we’ve worked extremely hard to open up this opportunity and it would be nice to go and capitalise on it.

“Sydney are a massive club.

“They have some very big assets, some very dangerous players like [Joe] Lolley and [Robert] Mak, million-dollar players at a million-dollar club and we go there as firm underdogs.

“But that’s a nice space for us to be in.

“We know how Sydney will prepare, we know where their threats are and we know they have a talented squad.

“But we also have our own threats and our own talent and it would be very naive of the other teams to underestimate us as we are a team that likes to be backs against the wall and we really believe in what we’re doing.”

Zadkovich is also adamant that Glory’s results on the road this season are a little misleading.

“We have massive belief in ourselves as a team and as a group,” he said.

“We’ve shown a lot of resilience and character through the season so far and football is a funny game.

“I feel like we’ve had some really good performances away from home and not got anything and then recently, we’ve had some not-so-great performances away from home and picked up points.

“For me, if we put it altogether at the right time and we want to this weekend, then we know we’re good enough.”

In terms of early team news, Glory will be without suspended central defender Mark Beevers and the Head Coach is unsure whether striker Adam Taggart will join the Englishman on the sidelines.

“He’s certainly not at full fitness; he’s a long way from that,” he said.

“He’s had a couple of niggles and he carried a little bit of a groin strain into the game last week having barely trained.

“But he wanted to be a part of it and try and come on and make an impact at the end.

“He’s got his head screwed on, he’s focused and he’s been moving a little bit better this week.

“He’s still carrying it a little bit, but we’ll see how he goes in tomorrow’s [Friday’s] session and then make the call.”

Zadkovich went on to acknowledge that the Glory Members and fans who will be present inside Allianz Stadium as part of the Glory Shed’s 20th Anniversary Tour of Duty will have a major role to play on the day.

“It speaks volumes about the loyal fans that we have,” he said.

“Those guys have been doing it for 20 years and it’s a massive occasion for them.

“We’ve spoken about it as players and staff and we’d love to go and put a shift in for those guys and we feel like their support is going to be massive for us getting a result this weekend.

“It’s a big positive.

“We want to represent them well.

“We can guarantee effort and that we’ll be giving everything for those guys and hopefully they can be the extra man for us and against all odds, we can go there and get a win.”

Sydney head into the game looking to snap a four-match winless streak which has included draws with Western United and Adelaide United and defeats to Western Sydney Wanderers and Wellington Phoenix.

Among the standout performers for Steve Corica’s side this season have been Slovakian forward Mak, who has scored seven goals and English midfielder Lolley, who has found the net five times and contributed two assists.

Max Burgess has also sparkled at times, scoring twice and claiming four assists, while Socceroos ‘keeper Andrew Redmayne has made 67 saves and kept three clean sheets having started every game.

Glory came from 2-0 down to secure a 2-2 draw when the sides met at Macedonia Park in Round 12 and collected three points in last year’s corresponding fixture which was played at Netstrata Jubilee Oval.

Match Details

ISUZU UTE A-League 2022/23 Season Round 24

Sydney FC v Perth Glory

Allianz Stadium

Sunday 16 April 2023

Kick-off: 1pm WST (3pm Local)

Sydney FC squad: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 2. James DONACHIE, 3. Joel KING, 4. Alex WILKINSON ©, 6. Jack RODWELL, 8. Paulo RETRE, 9. Adam LE FONDRE, 10. Joe LOLLEY, 11. Robert MAK, 12. Pat WOOD, 17. Anthony CACERES, 19. Adrian SEGECIC, 20. Thomas HEWARD-BELLE (GK), 21. Alex PARSONS, 22. Max BURGESS, 23. Rhyan GRANT, 25. Jaiden KUCHARSKI, 26. Luke BRATTAN, 28. Jake GIRDWOOD-REICH, 29. Aaron GURD (2-4 to be omitted)

Ins: 2. James DONACHIE (promoted), 21. Alex PARSONS (promoted), 25. Jaiden KUCHARSKI (promoted)

Outs: 18. Diego CABALLO (injured

Unavailable: Nil

Perth Glory squad: 2.John KOUTROUMBIS, 3.Jacob DOWSE, 4.Luke BODNAR, 7.Ryan WILLIAMS, 8.Mustafa AMINI (c), 12.Luke IVANOVIC, 13.Cameron COOK (gk),14.Jack CLISBY, 15.Jordan ELSEY, 16.Keegan JELACIC, 19.Zach DUNCAN, 20.Giordano COLLI, 21.Antonee BURKE-GILROY, 22.Adam TAGGART, 28.Trent OSTLER, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 30.Pierce CLARK (gk), 36.Joseph FORDE, 37.Jacob MUIR, 43.Adam ZIMARINO

2.John KOUTROUMBIS, 21.Antonee BURKE-GILROY, 20.Giordano COLLI

Outs: 5.Mark BEEVERS

Unavailable: 1.Brad JONES (gk) (injured), 5.Mark BEEVERS (suspended), 6.Aaron MCENEFF (injured), 10.Salim KHELIFI (injured), 18.David WILLIAMS (injured), 24.Adrian SARDINERO (injured)