Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia is backing his squad to embrace the challenges presented by what continues to be a disjointed A-League campaign.
Having not been in action since since February 5th and subsequently spent two weeks in home quarantine, the men in purple now face the prospect of playing two games in four days, starting on Friday when Brisbane Roar will provide the opposition at HBF Park (kick-off at 6.05pm, tickets HERE).
But Garcia is adamant that his players have what it takes to continue their encouraging start to the season which has yielded three wins in five games.
“It is tough on the group, but it’s what we’ve got to expect this year and the boys are up for that,” he said.
“For us, it was possibly a good break just to sit back and look at other teams and see how we’d fare against them tactically.
“But the boys are dying now to get back out there and play some football.
“The group has responded really well when it’s come up against tough challenges.
“This season is going to continually put these challenges up and I think they [the players] are doing very, very well with it.
“With the mentality that we have in the squad, it’s good to know that you can rely on them to keep themselves in a good state mentally and physically.”
Brisbane will head into the game searching for a fifth win of the season which would move them to within one point of early pace-setters, Central Coast, but the focus for Garcia this week has been very much inwards.
“Roar have made a great start to the season and are doing really well, but we have nothing to fear,” he said.
“We know the quality we possess and that we can be very competitive in this league and do well and that starts with these next couple of games.
“For us, it’s about what we do and how we want to play and fulfilling our potential as a group and as a team and I think everything else will then take its place.”
In terms of early squad news, the Head Coach confirmed that Andy Keogh is expected to feature in the upcoming two home games after recovering from a groin strain and he also provided an update on the status of new recruits Kouske Ota and Sebastian Langkamp and long-term absentee, Chris Ikonomidis.
“Andy is struggling a little bit, but he’s mended quite well over quarantine and now it’s about making sure we give him the right load to be able to come back into full fitness,” he said.
“He spent quite a bit of time out of the game coming into this season and we saw the qualities he possesses in the [first] Adelaide game.
“Unfortunately I then asked him to back that up three days later, so it always becomes an uphill battle for him then.
“So it’s about maybe taking the foot off the pedal with him and making sure we manage him right and that he builds up the football element of his game.
“He’s an integral part of the team and the squad and he’ll be available.
“Ota and Langkamp are out of hotel quarantine now and it’s a good opportunity for them to get with the group and find their feet as far as some physical work is concerned.
“It’s hard coming out of international quarantine because you can’t do a lot, if anything, so we need to give them some time to settle and make sure they’re in the best possible shape before they start full training.
“They need to acclimatise and we need to make sure that their bodies are ready and that they don’t come in, pick up an injury and then we’ve lost them for the season.
“We’ve got to be as mindful as we can be of getting them into a good physical state.
“Chris is travelling pretty well.
“He’s still got a little while to go, but we’re very pleased with his progress and looking forward to him joining in with the group and eventually coming back and playing.”
Osama Malik, meanwhile, returns to the squad for the first time since dislocating his shoulder during pre-season.
Friday, 26 February 2021
Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar
HBF Park, Perth
Kick-Off: 6:05pm (Local)(9:05pm (AEDT))
Referee: Alireza Faghani
Assistant Referee 1: Josh Manella
Assistant Referee 2: Arvin Shanmuganathan
Fourth Official: Shane Skinner
VAR: Kate Jacewicz
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #PERvBRI
Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6.Osama MALIK, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 10.Andy KEOGH, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Nick SULLIVAN, 17.Diego CASTRO (C), 18.Nick D’AGOSTINO, 19.Calllum TIMMINS, 20.Carlo ARMIENTO, 21.Bryce BAFFORD, 22.Josh RAWLINS, 23.Dane INGHAM, 24.Daniel STYNES, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 33.Liam REDDY (GK), 34.Mason TATAFU, 88.Neil KILKENNY
**1-3 to be omitted**
Ins: 6.Osama MALIK (returns from injury)
Unavailable: 7.Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – 2-3 weeks)
Brisbane Roar squad: 1.Macklin FREKE (gk), 3.Corey BROWN, 5.Tom ALDRED (c), 6.Macaulay GILLESPHEY, 8.Danny KIM, 9.Masato KUDO, 10.Riku DANZAKI, 11.Joe CHAMPNESS, 15.Jesse DALEY, 16.Joshua BRINDELL-SOUTH, 17.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 23.Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 25.Rahmat AKBARI, 26.Jay O’SHEA, 27.Kai TREWIN, 29.Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS, 33.Keegan JELACIC, 34.Alex PARSONS
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 8.Danny KIM (promoted), 9.Masato KUDO (promoted), 29.Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS (promoted), 33.Keegan JELACIC (promoted), 34.Alex PARSONS (promoted)
Outs: 77.Scott MCDONALD (hamstring)