Match Preview: Zadkovich backing young “shining lights” to sparkle again

Ruben Zadkovich is backing the club’s talented youngsters to keep impressing ahead of Sunday’s ISUZU UTE A-League trip to his former club, Newcastle Jets (kick-off at 2.05pm WST).

Tyler Vecchio, Joseph Forde, Joel Anasmo, Trent Ostler, Aidan Coyne and Adam Zimarino have all been handed their A-League debuts in recent weeks, joining the likes of Giordano Colli, Ciaran Bramwell, Josh Rawlins and Cameron Cook who have featured prominently all season.

And with no respite from a crippling injury list and a gruelling set of fixtures in sight, the Head Coach is set to continue to give the club’s young guns a taste of senior football.

“We’re certainly backs-against-the-wall at the moment,” he said.

“These are very challenging times and unforeseen circumstances really in terms of the amount of travel and having one training session between games.

“It’s almost mission impossible, but that’s the challenge we’ve been dealt and that’s the one I’m going to face head on and focus on those young players and the future of the club.

“These guys are the shining light for the future; homegrown WA players that care about the club and to be honest, they’re living their dream playing for Perth Glory.

“My job is to help mentor and shape these young, aspiring pros into professionals and we’ll use that as a big point this week.”

Zadkovich went on to confirm that Adrian Sardinero (knee) and Adam Zimarino (ankle) have unfortunately joined the ranks of walking wounded which also include Daniel Sturridge, Andy Keogh, Bruno Fornaroli, Kosuke Ota, Brandon O’Neill, Brad Jones, Luke Bodnar and Carlo Armiento.

“Both Adrian and Adam are out,” he said.

“Sardi looks like he could have a potential knee injury which isn’t good at all and Adam’s ankle injury is quite significant as well, so he’s in a moon-boot at the moment.

“It’s opened up the opportunity to bring young Jacob Muir into the squad for a little bit more depth and Jayden Gorman, another one of our youth team products, who is an exciting young talent.

“It’s exciting for those young players to come in, but obviously bitterly disappointing to lose another couple of quality players to injury.

“We’ll take the first game and see how we go and obviously if we lose more players, we’ll have to look at what’s next and if guys like Andy [Keogh] become available, we can always fly those guys over.

“But for now, it’s looking like this is our squad.”

Glory will certainly need no introduction to the Jets having hosted them less than a fortnight ago, but Zadkovich feels that opposite number Arthur Papas may alter his approach at McDonald Jones Stadium.

“I think it’ll be slightly different because they’re at home and they’ve been good at home this year,” he said.

“They’re a high-tempo team and I think they’ll be hurting because they’ve had a couple of results that weren’t great for them.

“I reckon we’re going to get them on the rebound where they’ll be up and about.

“I’m expecting a really difficult match on their home turf.

“But if I look back at our last performance against Victory, that’s a good foundation.

“We moved the ball around really, really well and I was super-proud of the way we played in that game.

“Obviously [we were] lacking a bit in the front third and the quality of the squad is not where it needs to be at this level, but it wasn’t through a lack of effort or strategy.

“Slowly but surely, the boys are taking on board what I’m trying to implement and it’s going to hold us in good stead for the future.”

On a personal note, meanwhile, the former Jets skipper is relishing the prospect of returning to his old stomping ground.

“My reception will always be good there,” he said.

“You’ll get your banter and bits and pieces, but I spent a long period there, I was captain of the club and always gave the club everything I had and the fans were fantastic with me.

“I’m looking forward to getting back there.

“They’ll be looking to try and send me away unhappy and I’ll be doing my best to dig my heels in and make sure we get something out of the game.”

Since drawing with Glory, the Jets have played just once, losing 2-0 away at Brisbane Roar.

At home, however, they have won three of their last four games and will be bolstered on Sunday by the return of influential Brazilian attacking midfielder Daniel Penha who has now served the suspension he received after being sent off against Glory.

McDonald Jones Stadium remains Glory’s most successful away A-League venue, with the men in purple having won on 12 of their 24 visits to date and the Jets claiming maximum points on only six occasions.