Match Preview: “We’ll go in with a clear head” – Garcia

Head Coach Richard Garcia believes that his Glory side will head into Saturday’s clash with Sydney FC primed to produce an improved performance.

View the full media conference HERE.

The men in purple went down to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Brisbane Roar in midweek in what was their first competitive outing for 43 days and will be seeking to end a winless run against the Sky Blues in New South Wales which stretches back to 2016.

The latest new regarding the WA border remaining closed has further complicated matters, but Garcia is adamant that the squad is travelling well both physically and mentally.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” he said.

“Sydney are a good team, they have a decent mix of older, experienced guys and youth and they’ve been champions in previous years and done really well.

“But with an injection of freshness into the squad, it’s a game we can go into with a clear head and be able to produce.”

Garcia went on to reveal that no fresh injury concerns emerged from the Brisbane game and that he expects his side’s performance levels to improve game by game.

“Everyone is a bit fatigued, especially those that played extended minutes, but that’s about it,” he said.

“It’s a fine balance between pushing guys beyond and then losing them for the rest of the season.

“We still want to be ready to push for a Finals spot, but at the same time, if you get to the Finals and you have no players to pick from, it becomes difficult.

“It’s about us getting as many good results as we can in these first few weeks while we’re trying to regain our match fitness.

“Towards the back end of the season, once the guys get going, the team will start to grow again and build again and become comfortable with each other.

“A lot of these guys have only played five or six games with each other, so it’s still a work in progress and the break of 40-plus days didn’t help at all.

“So now it’s about us building and trying to push as hard as we can to get that match fitness back as quickly as possible without breaking anybody.”

When quizzed about Daniel Sturridge, meanwhile, Garcia confirmed that the marquee man is in good shape.

“Daniel is doing well and it was good to see him go through that [his appearance off the bench against Brisbane] and not feel any problems,” he said.

“He really worked hard in the time that we gave him and that’s showing its rewards.

“It was always going to be a project to be able to gain his fitness, so in that regard, it’s probably good that he’s been able to use that break as fitness time and now we can build him up in games.”

Glory will face a Sydney side currently sitting sixth in the table having won two of its seven games to date.

Saturday’s hosts have been hit by injuries to a number of key players, including Adam le Fondre, Kosta Barbarouses and Michael Zullo, all of whom are regarded as major doubts this week.