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Jan 13, 2022   |  11:45AM AET

Epakis and co vow to “keep fighting” despite COVID-19 setback

Epakis and co vow to “keep fighting” despite COVID-19 setback

Glory Liberty A-League Head Coach Alex Epakis remains in upbeat mood despite COVID-19 disrupting his squad’s preparations for Sunday’s away clash with Newcastle Jets (kick-off 3.20pm WST).

Three players and two members of staff have tested positive for the virus and have been forced to isolate inside the group’s temporary base in North Sydney.

But Epakis has been impressed by the way his charges have dealt with the latest in a series of challenges they have faced this season.

“Everyone is healthy and well and in good spirits,” he said.

“Luckily we’ve had no new cases this morning [Thursday] and obviously we are testing frequently, social distancing and all the standard restrictions and protocols are in place.

“Even the ones who are currently isolating seem to be doing well and are well supported from a distance and are keeping occupied.

“In particular, right now, we’re facing a few things.

“We came off a disappointing loss against Sydney, we’ve had a few injuries and a bit of COVID, so there are quite a few things that we’re looking at square in the face and we really don’t have any choice but to go up against it.

“Obviously just sitting on our hands and waiting for things to happen is not an option.

“We really need to be proactive in our response and on how we lead in and prepare for the next game.

“It’s a pretty critical moment in the season, these next couple of weeks and regardless of what’s happening, we have to keep fighting.

“The experienced players are really leading that away from the field
and hopefully myself and the rest of the staff will do that in terms of what happens on the field.”

Epakis admitted that the group’s preparations for the Newcastle game have inevitably been impacted, but that the COVID-related challenges they endured last year have stood them in good stead.

“We’ve started by focusing on ourselves for now and just seeing where we can be better at what we’re doing and then we’ll look more at Newcastle in detail later in the week,” he said.

“Last year’s experiences have allowed me to prepare for this season as best as possible.

“Things were a bit transitional last year and again this year it’s the same.

“Now we’re in Sydney based in a different residence and away from home for an extended time.

“We’ve been very short-staffed this week and I’m trying to do as much as I can.

“We’ve got players coming in to help us with numbers from a training point of view and we’ve just got to keep going and find solutions to what’s in front of us.

“We’re in constant communication with A-Leagues and they’ve supported us as much as possible.

“They know the circumstances and we’re making sure we’re transparent with everything.

“It’s such an evolving situation every day for every club, not just for us and we appreciate that it’s not going to be perfect for everyone.”