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Feb 03, 2022   |  3:40PM AET

Match Preview – Canberra clash the only focus for Epakis and co

Match Preview – Canberra clash the only focus for Epakis and co

Glory may have surged into the Liberty A-League top four after downing Wellington Phoenix on Monday, but Head Coach Alex Epakis is adamant that his squad remain fully focused upon Saturday’s clash with Canberra United rather than the prospect of Finals football.

Click HERE to view Alex’s full media conference.

The women in purple will lock horns with United for the second time in four weeks at Viking Park (kick-off at 2.05pm WST) and will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to four games.

And while clearly pleased with the shape his side are in, there appears to be no danger of complacency creeping in on Epakis’ watch.

“We’re in the hunt [for Finals football] and I don’t know if anyone really expected that other than ourselves,” he said.

“So where we’re at right now is where we want to be and we really want to defend that position in the top four as best we can.

“We just need to take every week as it comes, make sure we have a good performance each week against the opponents that we’re playing and not think too far past that.

“From where we were last year to where we are now is a fantastic achievement and it’s a really great step forward for where we want to be as a group and as a club.

“The most pleasing thing is that we are starting to put together performances that are helping us win games consistently… so that in itself is a great place to be.

“In terms of what comes next, for me, it’s just the next game and hoping to get three points after a solid performance.

“Given the climate that we’re in, there are so many variables that it actually hurts my head to think too far ahead!”

Epakis will again be denied the services of a number of key players this weekend due to illness and injury, but he believes there is enough quality in his squad to cope without the absentees.

“Gemma Craine’s injury [broken wrist] was pretty significant and she’s most likely out for the rest of the season, unfortunately,” he said.

“Leena Khamis is still recovering from COVID and won’t be available, Bella Wallhead and Tijan McKenna won’t be available because of COVID, Alana Jancevski is still recovering from the effects of COVID and Susan Phonsongkham is getting close [to a return from injury], but I still think this weekend will be too soon for her.

“So we’ve got a couple of players out, but we have a really deep squad and it gives other players a chance to step up. “

Like Glory’s last opponents Wellington Phoenix, Canberra United are struggling at the wrong end of the table having yet to register a win in their seven games this term.

But they held Glory to a 0-0 draw when the two sides met in early January and Epakis is wary of the threat they pose.

“We certainly had our chances in that game which unfortunately we couldn’t capitalise on,” he said.

“It was also on the back end of three games in one week and I think we lacked a bit of punch at times.

“Going into it this time around, we’re more settled as a group and more consistent as a group and we’re going to be fresher with more days between games.

“We need to take our chances against Canberra.

“They have some really experienced players there, in particular up front with Michelle Heyman and Ash Sykes, so we can’t give them chances and we certainly need to take ours.

“Every game we’ve played against Canberra recently has been a nail-biting, end-to-end match and hopefully in this instance, we can control the game from start to finish and put it to bed early.”

Glory will be out to improve upon a poor run of form against the team from the capital which has seen them win just one of the last 13 meetings between the two clubs.

United have picked up three draws thus far this season, one of which came against Newcastle Jets (3-3) in their most recent outing.

#OneGlory