Match Preview: Home advantage could be vital says Epakis

Glory Head Coach Alex Epakis believes that the club’s Members and fans will have a vital role to play in helping his side secure their first win of the Liberty A-League season in Sunday’s clash with Canberra United at Macedonia Park (kick-off at 4pm, tickets HERE).

The two sides have forged something of a rivalry over the years, with Glory yet to taste victory in 12 trips to the nation’s capital.

They did, however, secure a 2-2 draw in their Round One clash with the women in green at McKellar Park and Epakis feels that his charges can go one better on home soil.

“In that Round One fixture, I think both teams were a little rusty at times,” he said, “and we know we are better as a team than what we showed in that performance.

“We’ve improved in areas and they’ve improved in areas, but ultimately, we’ve had a look at what they’ve done over the last couple of weeks and we’ll be ready for them; there’ll be no surprises.

“In the last three seasons, they’ve never come to Perth; they’ve had all home fixtures.

“So for them to have to come here on Sunday will be a good opportunity for us.

“Each one of those [previous games] has been end-to-end with moments that have gone for us and moments that have gone against us.

“They’ve always had the home crowd advantage and we’ve always felt hard done by in that instance.

“They definitely get a strong backing [at home] and they have an influence on helping the team create energy and sway the referee on 50-50s.

“It’s helped them in certain games against us and now we need to do the same.

“We need to make sure that we really capitalise on the home ground advantage.”

Epakis went on to reveal that the playing group and coaching staff have engaged in a frank and honest appraisal of what is required to start climbing the table.

“The key thing is when you’ve had an inconsistent start like we have, there’s no solution externally; the solutions are internal,” he said.

“They’re inside the squad and the answers are just in hard work and being better.

“We’ve really turned the screws on our own expectations and individual performances this week and have made it clear that if individually we’re all better, the collective will be stronger.

“This is our opportunity to put together a 90-minute performance and really kick-start the season.

“I’m expecting a game where our team goes out and has a really strong performance and we’ll look to bounce back from the inconsistent start that we’ve had.

“We’ll have 16 committed players looking to go out and get a job done.”

In terms of squad news, Glory will be without Sarah Cain who is serving a one-match ban after seeing red against Melbourne Victory last time out, but defensive trio Kim Carroll, Bella Wallhead and Claudia Mihocic all return to the selection mix.

Canberra, meanwhile, will head west buoyed by a convincing 3-0 win over Wellington Phoenix last weekend, with Michelle Heyman bagging two of the goals.

The visitors will, however, be without Chinese international Chengshu Wu and young defender, Grace Taranto.

Match Details

Liberty A-League 2022/23 Season Round 5

Perth Glory v Canberra United

Macedonia Park

Sunday 18 December 2022

Kick-off: 4.00pm

Perth Glory squad: 1.Morgan AQUINO (gk), 3.Kim CARROLL, 4.Natasha RIGBY (c), 6.Tijan MCKENNA, 7.Liz ANTON, 8.Hana LOWRY, 9.Demi KOULIZAKIS, 10.Susan PHONSONGKHAM, 11.Rylee BAISDEN, 12.Sofia SAKALIS, 15.Cyera HINTZEN, 16.Isabella WALLHEAD, 17.Abbey GREEN, 18.Sadie LAWRENCE, 20.Sarah LANGMAN (gk), 21.Ella MASTRANTONIO, 22.Claudia MIHOCIC, 23.Alana JANCEVSKI, 42.Gabriella COLEMAN

In: 3.Kim CARROLL, 6.Tijan MCKENNA, 16.Isabella WALLHEAD, 22.Claudia MIHOCIC

Out: 13.Sarah CAIN (suspended)

Unavailable: 13.Sarah CAIN (suspended),  24.Milan HAMMOND (injured)

Canberra United squad: 1. Keeley RICHARDS (GK), 4. Holly MURRAY 5. Emma ILIJOSKI, 6. Laura HUGHES, 7. Ellie BRUSH 8. Sasha GROVE,10. Grace MAHER, 11. Grace JALE, 12. Hayley TAYLOR-YOUNG 13. Sophia CHRISTOPHERSON, 14. Chloe MIDDELTON 15. Madison McCOMASKY, 16. Kennedy FAULKNOR, 17. Vesna MILIVOJECIV, 18. Chloe LINCOLN, 19. Nickoletta FLANNERY, 23. Michelle HEYMAN, 24. Ellen GETT

Unavailable: 9. Chengshu WU 3. Grace TARANTO

Not Selected: 2. Emily ROACH