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Feb 25, 2022   |  11:23AM AET

Match Preview – “We’re not going to take a backward step” – Epakis

Match Preview – “We’re not going to take a backward step” – Epakis

Head Coach Alex Epakis is backing his Glory side to take the game to Sydney FC in Sunday’s crucial clash with the Liberty A-League leaders at Launceston’s UTAS Stadium (kick-off at 1.05pm WST).

Click HERE to view his full media conference.

Glory have suffered just one further defeat since being beaten 4-0 by the Sky Blues seven rounds ago and following last weekend’s win over Melbourne Victory, remain in the thick of the Finals race heading into the last two games of the regular season.

And while Sydney FC stand on the cusp of securing the Premiership after losing only once all season, Epakis is bullish about his side’s prospects of getting the better of the Sky Blues in Tasmania.

“I actually look back at that performance [v Sydney FC] as being a real turning point in our season,” he said.

“The scheduling didn’t help us – it was the third of three games in seven days – and we were a bit flat and not at our best.

“Since then we’ve matured, we’ve learned from our mistakes and I think we’re going to go into this game much better prepared not so much for what they can do, but prepared and aware of what we can do.

“I think that’s the key thing.

“We’re not going there to take a backward step; we’re going there to attack the game and be the best version of ourselves that we can be and we’re going there with the idea that we can put on the kind of performance we need to get a result.

“I’ve got a lot of faith in what the players can do and hopefully after the performance against Victory, they have that faith too.

“We can achieve what we want; if we all believe it, we can do it.”

In terms of team news, meanwhile, Epakis confirmed that Leena Khamis will not be available, but that Liz Anton could still feature despite the fact that she is yet to return from the USA where she has been representing New Zealand in the SheBelieves Cup.

“Liz has got some really good experience with the national team and done well when she’s come on and we’re really proud and happy for her,” he said.

“She’ll get in very early tomorrow morning [Saturday], we’ll see how she trains and we’ll see what sort of form she’s in.

“Ultimately, she’s an international player and to have her in the squad is going to be a bonus if that happens.

“We’re probably 24 hours away from making that decision.

“Leena has a really important personal commitment which she can’t get out and that’s totally fine.

“We knew that was the case when we signed her as an injury replacement.

“I think at this stage the squad will stay fairly similar to what it was last week against Melbourne Victory.

“Last week there were some really unlucky players to miss out in the squad.

“Everyone’s fighting very hard and are very committed to the cause.

“They’re putting the team first and giving themselves a chance to help contribute.”

Glory have won just one of their last five meetings with the Sky Blues who are enjoying another season to remember under Ante Juric.

They have scored 32 goals in their 12 games to date, with Remy Siemsen and Princess Ibini bagging five of those apiece and have conceded only five times.

Should they collect the three points on Sunday and Melbourne City fail to do likewise in their game against Newcastle on Tuesday, the New South Wales side will be crowned Premiers for a second successive season.

#OneGlory