Perth Glory return to PS4 National Premier League WA action this weekend when they entertain league leaders Inglewood United at Ashfield Reserve.
The Glory youngsters are coming off a big win against Mandurah City last time out, a performance which left Head Coach John Gibson understandably delighted.
“We put in a good 90-minute performance two weeks ago,” he said, “and it’s something we strive for on a weekly basis.
“We’ve consistently said all season that the group are on a massive learning curve, but they have always been positive and worked tremendously hard the whole season and nothing changes on Saturday against Inglewood.
“Our players are all growing with every moment. They are showing a fantastic attitude and work rate both in training and in games and there is a great team spirit within all the teams, from the seniors through to the Under-20s and Under-18s”.
Gibson also confirmed that Glory are looking forward to coming up against a familiar face in the form of Andy Keogh who is, of course, currently Inglewood’s Head Coach.
“It will be strange not to have Andy on our side on Saturday,” he said, “as he has been a huge part of the club’s A-League success, but it will be about the group in purple for us.
“Andy has done a great job with United and the table doesn’t lie at this time of the season. They have a potent forward line and a solid midfield and back four, but we are relishing the challenge. We go into the game full of positivity and looking to be seriously competitive against them. We know it will be tough, but we’re looking forward to it and, as always, it’s about us in terms of the process and the details.”
Gibson went on to highlight how the development of the club’s NPL program has borne fruit this season, with several players being elevated to the international and senior Glory ranks.
“Last week saw Riley Warland and Trent Ostler play for the Joeys over in Thailand,” he said, “and they did themselves and Perth Glory proud. It’ll be good to have both of them back for this weekend.
“Then there’s our skipper, Daniel Stynes, who started for the A-League side in their pre-season friendly against Perth SC and played well, while Yacoub Mustafa and Jacob Italiano also came off the bench, which is a great confidence boost for them.”
Keogh’s Inglewood side, meanwhile, lost for the first time under his tutelage against Stirling in Round 21 and the Irishman confirmed that lessons needed to be learned from that surprise reverse.
“We have to take on board that we can’t underestimate our opponents and that we have to be on the top of our game every week to make sure that we get the points,” he said.
“The lads are all fighting fit and having the little break last weekend did them the world of good.”
Keogh has, of course, had the opportunity to study Glory’s youngsters at close quarters on the occasions when they train with the senior side.
And he’s expecting them to provide a stern test for his charges who are currently one point clear of Perth SC and Bayswater City.
“They (Glory) will be good,” he said. “They’ll be technically better than we are, so we know that we need to match them in terms of enthusiasm and work rate and hopefully our experience will then guide us through.
“In terms of the title race, it’s been tight all season and we’ve come out of nowhere and put ourselves in pole position to pick up the silverware. So it’s in our hands and that’s all we could ask for at this stage of the season.”
Saturday July 29, 2017
Perth Glory v Inglewood United
Under 18s – 11am
Under 20s – 1pm
First Team – 3pm