New PGFC Academy First Team Head Coach Alex Epakis cannot wait to oversee his first game in charge when the youngsters take on Floreat Athena at Crazy Domains Stadium at Hartfield Park on Friday evening (kick-off at 7.30pm, FREE admission for Glory Members).
Epakis, who took on the role on a temporary basis earlier this week, will be aiming to steer the First Team to a second successive win after they opened their 2022 NPL campaign by downing Inglewood United 2-1 at Inglewood Stadium last weekend.
And the man who took the club’s Liberty A-League side to within a whisker of the Finals earlier this year has been impressed by what he’s seen of his squad in training this week.
“I’ve had two sessions with the group and the players have shown a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm and vigour throughout the sessions which has been pleasing,” he said.
“There’s a high level of competitiveness throughout the group which is really important, especially when you’re competing against good quality teams at the weekends.
“You need to make sure that the quality during the training week is at a good level and my first impression so far has been that that is certainly the case.
“The playing group and the staff have welcomed me with open arms which has been really positive and I’m looking forward to the test on Friday night against what is expected to be a really experienced team in Floreat.
“It should be a fantastic opportunity to kick-start my work with the group.”
In terms of exactly what he has focused upon on the training ground, the new Head Coach confirmed that he has taken a largely circumspect approach thus far.
“Firstly, it’s been about me trying to get to know the players and build a connection with them and what their current approach is,” he said.
“I didn’t go in this week and try and change too much.
“I adapted to what they’re already doing well and tried to add a little bit of my own style too.
“We’ll find a happy medium and continue to build and work towards the end goal over the next couple of weeks in terms of what the playing style looks like.”
Like Glory, Floreat have played just one game so far and produced an impressive display to thump Balcatta Etna FC 5-0, with former Glory duo Ludo Boi and Riley Woodcock among the scorers.
They also claimed three points from last year’s corresponding fixture against Glory en route to a second-place finish and a place in the Grand Final where they were ultimately defeated by Perth SC.
The PGFC Academy Under-18s and Under-20s, meanwhile, will be in action on Saturday morning against their Floreat Athena counterparts, with those games getting underway at Crazy Domains Stadium at 9am and 11am respectively.
(picture courtesy of Tom McCarthy)