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Oct 26, 2023   |  1:55PM AET

ALM Match Preview: Staj aiming to reap rewards of “international-style prep”

ALM Match Preview: Staj aiming to reap rewards of “international-style prep”

Glory Head Coach Alen Stajcic is hopeful that his squad’s extended stay in New Zealand will leave them better prepared to secure maximum points from Saturday’s Round 2 clash with Wellington Phoenix (kick-off at 12.30pm WST).

Click HERE to view his full pre-match media conference.

The men in purple made the long trip across the Tasman on Tuesday in order to allow more time to adjust fully to the rigours of the eight-hour flight and five-hour time difference.

And Stajcic is optimistic that they will reap the rewards at Sky Stadium.

“[This trip] feels more like international duty and it’s been good to spend a bit of time together,” he said.

“For all intents and purposes, this is an international-type of preparation for me and we are leaving no stone unturned in making sure that we’re ready to go at the weekend.

“Travel is part of the A-League for every team, so for me, it’s just an excuse really and nothing other than our performances will dictate whether we win or lose on the weekend.”

Glory will head into the game off the back of a 2-2 home draw with Newcastle Jets in Round One and the Head Coach was pleased by the way his side’s performance level rose in the second 45 minutes at HBF Park.

“I don’t think we need to change the approach,” he said.

“We have to go in with a positive mind-set and keep building on what we did last week because it was really impressive for me that we could improve from the first half to the second half.

“If we can keep building rhythm and momentum, there’s no reason why we can’t be super-competitive again this week.

“For us to be able to go into that game [v Newcastle] basically with one A-League friendly under our belt and Newcastle having had about eight, just shows that we could improve and improve rapidly against a team that probably had a better pre-season prep than us.

“That gives me even more confidence going into this week.”

Not that Stajcic is underestimating a Wellington side which secured a creditable 0-0 draw away at Western Sydney Wanderers on opening day.

“They faced the a lot of the same difficulties we did in pre-season in not being able to too many A-League, or high-quality friendlies under their belts, so I thought they were also very good and unlucky not to be able to snatch a goal and a result,” he said.

“They definitely showed a good level of organisation and that Chief [Head Coach Giancarlo Italiano) has done an excellent job with them to this point.”

Saturday will mark the 50th time Glory and Wellington have contested the Distance Derby, with the WA side having claimed 20 wins to Phoenix’s 19, while 10 games have ended all square.

Diego Castro, Andy Keogh and Roy Krishna are the all-time leading scorers in the fixture with seven apiece, with Shane Smeltz bagged five during his spells with both teams.

Three of the last five Distance Derby meetings have seen the points shared and Glory’s last win came in August 2020 when Joel Chianese scored the only goal of an Elimination Final clash at Bankwest Stadium.

Phoenix’s dangermen this weekend will include Polish import Oskar Zawada, who scored 15 goals in what was his debut A-League season last year, Kosta Barbarouses, who has found the net eight times in 28 appearances against Glory and clever Bulgarian midfielder Bozhidar Kraev, who contributed seven goals and two assists last term.

Match Details

Isuzu UTE A-League 2023/24 Season Round 2

Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory

Sky Stadium

Saturday 28 October 2023

Kick-off: 12.30pm WST

Wellington Phoenix squad: 3. Finn SURMAN, 4. Scott WOOTTON, 6. Tim PAYNE, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Ben OLD, 9. Oskar ZAWADA, 10. David BALL, 11. Bozhidar KRAEV, 12. Mo AL-TAAY, 14. Alex RUFER (c), 15. Nicholas PENNINGTON, 18. Lukas KELLY-HEALD, 24. Oskar VAN HATTUM 25. Jack DUNCAN (GK), 26. Isaac HUGHES, 34. Josh RUDLAND, 40. Alex PAULSEN (GK), 41. Kaelin NGUYEN, 42. Fergus GILLION, 52. Jackson MANUEL

* Two to be omitted

Ins: 24. Oskar VAN HATTUM (returning from injury), 41. Kaelin NGUYEN (promoted), 42. Fergus GILLION (promoted)

Outs: 5. Fin CONCHIE (injured), 23. Luke SUPYK (injured), 48. Charlie BEALE

Unavailable: 5. Fin CONCHIE (injured), 19. Sam SUTTON (injured), 23. Luke SUPYK (injured)

Perth Glory Squad: 1.Oli SAIL (GK), 2.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 3.Jacob MUIR, 4.Luke BODNAR, 5.Mark BEEVERS (co-captain), 7.Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 9.David WILLIAMS, 12.Luke IVANOVIC, 13.Cameron COOK (GK), 14.Riley WARLAND, 15.Aleksandar SUSNJAR, 17.Jarrod CARLUCCIO, 19.Trent OSTLER, 20.Giordano COLLI, 22.Adam TAGGART (co-captain), 23.Daniel BENNIE, 24.Oliver BOZANIC, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 77.Bruce KAMAU

* One to be omitted

Ins: 3.Jacob MUIR

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 6.Aaron MCENEFF (injured), 8.Mustafa AMINI (injured), 10.Salim KHELIFI (injured), 11.Adam ZIMARINO (injured), 21.Antonis MARTIS (injured), 27.Jayden GORMAN (injured)