Match Preview – “Our boys are hungry to bounce back” – Garcia

Glory v CCM - VIP - Richard Garcia on bench

Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia is expecting to see a positive response from his squad in Sunday’s clash with Wellington Phoenix at Wollongong’s WIN Stadium (kick-off at 1.05pm WST).


The men in purple will head into the game off the back of a performance against Central Coast Mariners on Tuesday in which they applied plenty of second-half pressure, but were ultimately unable to prevent the league leaders from claiming all three points.

And Garcia is adamant that the lessons learned by his charges in that home defeat will stand them in good stead.

“It’s a learning process and we’re still growing as a group,” he said.

“We had some good possession the other night and probably didn’t create as much in the first half, but at the same time, we can’t concede set-pieces which then put you on the back foot.

“So that’s a learning process for the group and I think once the senior guys came on and got on that front foot, we had enough chances to win.

“It’s about learning that lesson and making sure that we start from the off in that vein of form.

“We have to make sure that we are focused for the full 90-95 minutes that we’re on the park.

“The feeling within the camp is that we should have got something out of the [Mariners] game and should have been on the front foot a bit more, so we’re looking to get back to winning ways on Sunday.

“They [Wellington] look like they’re in form and are ready to go, but our boys are very hungry to bounce back.”

While acknowledging Wellington’s strengths, Garcia was quick to point out that, as always, Glory’s main focus this week has been upon themselves.

“Wellington are a strong side,” he said.

“The attacking side of their game is very good, their attacking midfielders are always  a threat, looking to get in behind.

“They’ve made a huge sacrifice to settle in Sydney, but the one benefit of that is that the travel is at a minimum for them.

“They are playing a lot of games that are local and it’s probably less physically demanding for them as they are not having to do the amount of travelling that they usually would.

“But it’s about us again and what we do and how we focus on our performance.”

The Phoenix clash begins a run of five games in 20 days for Glory, three of them away from home, but Garcia feels that his players are well capable of dealing with yet another demanding set of fixtures.

“I keep saying the schedule is tough because it is tough for us,” he said.

“We’re going to have to again be fully focused and make sure that we’re resilient not only physically, but mentally.

“The hardest challenge is that mentally it’s tough for the guys.

“But I think the guys have had a good run at it now, they know what to expect and we want to leave that to the back of our mind.

“The group is mentally tough enough to deal with it.

“It’s a different reality now… a new normal and that’s something we’ve spoken to the guys about.”

The Head Coach went on to declare that Diego Castro is in contention to return to the starting side having been introduced from the bench against the Mariners and that with the exception of Mason Tatafu (ankle), Glory have no fresh injury concerns to deal with.

The club’s most recent meeting with Phoenix came in last season’s Elimination Final when a Joel Chianese goal proved the difference between the two sides at Bankwest Stadium.

This term, meanwhile, Ufuk Talay’s men have picked up eight points from nine games, three of which came last weekend when David Ball and Ben Waine netted in a 2-0 away victory over the Jets.

Match Details

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory

WIN Stadium, Wollongong

Kick-Off: 1.05pm (WST)(4:05pm (Local))

Referee: Adam Kersey

Assistant Referee 1: Lance Greenshields

Assistant Referee 2: Scott Edeling

Fourth Official: Ben Abraham

VAR: Shaun Evans

TV Broadcast:  Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 1:00pm (WST), Sky Sport 7 (New Zealand), Kayo Sports (www.kayosports.com.au) and MyFootball Live App, Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WELvPER

To purchase tickets visit www.a-league.com.au/tickets

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 2.Liam McGING, 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 5.James MCGARRY, 6.Tim PAYNE, 7.Reno PISCOPO, 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 9.David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA, 12.Matthew RIDENTON, 13.Charles LOKOLI-NGOY, 14.Alex RUFER, 15.Mirza MURATOVIC, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Tomer HEMED, 18.Ben WAINE, 19.Sam SUTTON, 20.Oliver SAIL, 21.Joshua LAWS, 23.Clayton LEWIS

**2-4 to be omitted**

Ins: 8.Cameron DEVLIN (promoted), 19.Sam SUTTON (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 3.Luke DEVERE (knee injury, 10 weeks), 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO (knee injury, 1 week), 27.Steven TAYLOR (quarantine, 2 weeks)

Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk),  5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Kosuke OTA, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 10.Andy KEOGH, 13.Luke BODNAR, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Nick SULLIVAN, 17.Diego CASTRO (C), 19.Callum TIMMINS, 18.Nick D’AGOSTINO, 20.Carlo ARMIENTO, 22.Josh RAWLINS, 23.Dane INGHAM, 24.Daniel STYNES, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 38.Ciaran BRAMWELL, 88.Neil KILKENNY

**2-4 to be omitted**

Ins: 5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS (returns from injury), 13.Luke BODNAR (promoted),  22.Josh RAWLINS (promoted)

Outs: 34.Mason TATAFU (ankle – 1-2 weeks)

Unavailable: 7.Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – 2-3 weeks)