The PGFC Academy First Team face a top-four six-pointer on Saturday when they welcome Bayswater City to E&D Litis Stadium (kick off at 3pm).
Richard Garcia’s side currently sit three points behind fourth-placed City with just two games of the regular NPL WA season remaining.
It has been a challenging few weeks for the youngsters due to a number of players being away on international duty or sidelined by injury, but Garcia feels that his charges remain very much in the mix for a top-four finish.
“Nothing changes for us,” he said. “We go into Saturday’s NPL game focused on a positive performance.
“We’ve been in all our games this season, but small details and physicality at times have been the difference.
“The boys are determined to push for a top-four spot and that starts with a positive result against Bayswater.”
This week has seen Daniel Walsh, Trent Ostler and Aiki Tsukamoto away at a Joeys camp in Canberra, while Josh Rawlins is also in the international frame having been included in both the Under-15 and Under-17 squad and Kristian Popovic and Jackson Lee have just returned from helping the Under-18s take out the AFF Championship.
Garcia, who himself earned 17 caps for the Socceroos during his playing days, is understandably thrilled that so many members of the Glory Academy are pulling on the green and gold.
“Everyone at the club is delighted for the guys,” he said, “and we hope that more players from the Academy are selected for future camps.
“It’s a great honour to represent your country at any level, so the players must embrace the opportunity and play with pride, knowing that along with their families, the whole club are also behind them.”
Walsh, meanwhile, who was a standout in last week’s defeat against Cockburn, is back for Saturday’s game and keen to help drive Glory back into the winners’ circle.
“I thought it was a good team performance and we dominated the game,” he said, “but we were punished for lapses in concentration in key moments which cost us the result.
“We’ve had a much younger team this year, especially in the second half of this season and it’s been good to see some youngsters taking their opportunities and proving that they can perform in senior football which is a big jump from the Under-20s and Under-18s competitions.
“We’re all aware that we need a win on Saturday to keep our finals chances alive, but we’ll approach the game the same way we have all season and look to put in a good performance which will hopefully yield a win.”
The big defender went on to emphasise the importance of last week’s AIS camp for both himself and club and country teammate Ostler in terms of the the build up to the Under-17 World Cup in Brazil.
“This week was another good step in preparation for the World Cup later this year,” he said.
“There’s a really good feeling within the team and everyone’s ambitious about what we can achieve in the coming months.”
Ahead of the First Team game on Saturday, the Under-18s are in action at 11am, followed by the Under-20s at 1pm.
Do get along to support the lads if you can, but if you can’t make it to E&D Litis Stadium, Football West will be live-streaming the Under-20s and First Team games HERE.