Match Preview: Fight, effort and mentality the focus for Zadkovich

“If nothing else, I really want to see that their effort matches the passion that the fans have for this club”

That’s the final message Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich will deliver to his depleted Glory side before they head onto the pitch at UTAS Stadium in Launceston for Saturday’s ISUZU UTE A-League clash with title-hopefuls Western United (kick-off at 3.05pm WST, 5.05pm Local).

Watch his full pre-match interview HERE.

Zadkovich will again be without a host of players due to injury as his squad prepares for a third game in just six days, but he is adamant that his charges will remain resilient in the face of adversity.

“I know how difficult the circumstances are, but I really want to see that fight and effort and mentality,” he said.

“If nothing else, I really want to see that their effort matches the passion that the fans have for this club.

“We’ve done that in nearly every game I’ve coached.

“The Newcastle game was a bridge too far… but in the other games, they’ve given that effort and mentality.”

Zadkovich went on to describe how logistics have again wreaked havoc with his side’s preparations.

“We’ve set ourselves up in Launceston and put a little rehab clinic on last night with our physio here and are scratching to try and piece the boys back together,” he said.

“Obviously they’re pretty fatigued with the short turnaround in games and the travel.

“We’ll train this afternoon [Friday] and I’m not going to pick a side or decide on my line-up until I get to that training session and see how the boys are moving on the grass.

“Then I’ll look to try and piece something together from there.

“The game constantly throws up challenges and some of these younger players especially, they’re going to have to find that out the hard way and be strong and resolute through this adversity.

“That’s definitely my mentality as a coach and I’m going to impart that on the boys.

“Yes, there are hardships and these are extremely difficult circumstances, but together we go out there and we wear our club badge with pride and we put in the best shift that we can.

“I’m sure the boys will be ready for the challenge and they’ll go out there and give everything they’ve got and try and get a result against Western United.”

Glory’s opponents will be keen to get their title challenge back on track after suffering a shock 4-1 home defeat to Wellington last time out and Zadkovich is expecting John Aloisi’s side to provide a stern test.

“Look at the quality of their players,” he said.

“They’re a top-shelf team at this level and have quality players in nearly every position.

“That’s why they are where they are on the ladder.

“The disappointing thing for me is that it’s a ridiculous scenario with us playing three games in six days and travelling around Australia while these guys [Western United] have a week to prepare.

“It’s a very, very unfair situation.

“That’s probably what provides the biggest issue; the intensity and freshness of their legs versus the fatigue of ours, so we have to try and find a solution tactically that makes us economical.

“That is frustrating for me.

“I’d like to have a full-strength squad, a week lead-in and play football the way I think it should be played.

“I’d like to take the intensity to a whole new level, get us on the front foot and have our fans back home watching us chomping at the bit, winning balls high up the pitch and peppering the other team’s goal.

“Unfortunately, right now we don’t have one, the playing personnel to do that and two, we don’t have the time to do that against a team that is going to be fresh and fit.

“We’re going to have to pick up the pieces and we’re going to have to try and defend and be resolute with the energy we do have.

“They’re very trying circumstances, but again, I’m embracing that challenge head on and I’m going to be there for my players on the sidelines, driving them on, driving them forward regardless and trying to ensure they do the best they can to get a result out of the game.”

In terms of squad news, Zadkovich confirmed that defender Jacob Young has been flown over to Tasmania having played for the PGFC Academy First Team against Stirling last weekend.

None of the club’s injured players, meanwhile, are expected to return in time to feature on Saturday (click HERE for the full injury list).

Western United currently sit eight points behind leaders Melbourne City with three games in hand, but have hit some indifferent form in recent weeks, winning just one of their last six.

Serbian forward Aleksandar Prijovic has been a huge influence for the Victorian side this term, bagging seven goals to lead their scoring charts and also claiming five assists.

At the other end of the field, Jamie Young has kept a competition-high eight clean sheets, one of which came when United downed Glory back in February, also in Launceston.

Overall, the sides have met on six occasions, with the green-and-blacks winning four games to Glory’s one.