Coach Ian Ferguson previews the Round 10 clash.
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson has revealed that young attacking talent Chris Harold will be handed his first start for the club in Saturday’s clash with Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park.
The former Gold Coast United man has made a string of impressive cameos off the bench thus far this term, convincing Ferguson that he is worthy of a run-on opportunity.
“He’s one that deserves a chance to get a start,” he said, “because every game that he’s played he’s done well and again against Victory, he’s come on and had three great chances.
“The boy’s always dangerous, he’s a threat.
“He’s been patient, he’s got on with his job and been a total professional.
“It’s not nice for any player to be left on the bench after they’ve been playing, but he’s worked really hard and shown the sort of attitude we want to see.
“Steven McGarry is another one who’s worked hard and got his chance again and I thought he was excellent against Victory.”
Despite last week’s unfortunate defeat in Melbourne, Ferguson remains reasonably happy with the overall quality of his side’s performances in recent weeks.
“I think the boys have been playing some really good football,” he said.
“Over the last three games we’ve created something like 50-plus chances.
“They’ve not all hit the target, but the fact that we’re getting down the flanks and coming through the middle is great.
“We’re creating opportunities and we are going to go to Heart with confidence.
“We’re getting one or two players back as well and we’re going to freshen it up a bit, so I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s a six-pointer basically.”
Ferguson’s men do of course have an impressive recent record against Heart, beating them three times last season and running out comfortable winners when the two sides met at nib Stadium back in week 3.
Yet while confident that his charges can continue that fine run by chalking up another victory on Saturday, the coach is wary of the attacking threat posed by the men in red and white.
“Heart are a team that is very quick on the counter-attack,” he said.
“With Fred in there and Matt Thompson and Jason Hoffman, that’s a vital triangle for them.
“They play the same system, they’ve got the same philosophy and they’ll attack and continue to attack with David Williams on the left and whoever comes in for Ben Garuccio on the right.
“John (Aloisi) is going to have to make a change or two and they are going to be missing a few players as well, like Aziz Behich, Michael Marrone and Richard Garcia, but they’ve got pace and energy going forward and Josip Tadic up front is playing well and becoming a real handful.
“We need to be careful and we’ve been working on making sure that we’re defensively structured and ready to deal with those quick counter-attacks.
“That said, we’re going there looking to win and confident that we can get three points.”
Ferguson went on to confirm that skipper Jacob Burns will come straight back into the starting eleven after serving his one-match suspension. Liam Miller did not travel with the team because of a back injury.
He also revealed that Bayswater City’s prolific striker Gustavo Maralunda has spent
this week training with the first-team squad.
“Gustavo has come in for training for a few days,” he said, “and we just want to have a look at him and see what he’s like in that environment.
“We are always looking to give players from the state league a chance and if they are good enough, we’ll get them on board.”