Ruben Zadkovich believes that the balance in his side’s play could be a key factor in deciding Sunday’s ISUZU UTE A-League showdown with Macarthur FC at Campbelltown Stadium (kick-off at 4.20pm WST).
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The men in purple defended resolutely to keep a dangerous Newcastle Jets side at bay in Wednesday’s 0-0 draw at HBF Park, a performance rendered all the more impressive by fact that the back three featured two 17-year-olds in the form of Josh Rawlins and debutant Aidan Coyne.
Now Zadkovich is looking for his side to build on those defensive positives and continue to develop as an offensive force.
“Like I keep reiterating, we play to win all the time and it was disappointing that we didn’t get the win [v Newcastle] because I think we weathered the storm early on and we were set up to then go and win the game,” he said.
“We tweaked a few things at half time which definitely got us back in the game and on the front foot and if if we’d just had that little bit more quality in transition and could recognise that moment a little bit better, we could have won the game.
“The circumstances are dictating to me a lot of what I can and can’t do and what we can achieve as a group.
“We’ve got a session today which should be recovery, but it’s not going to be.
“We’re going to have to cram in our gameplan for Macarthur and that alone tells you that you can’t change too much because too much change would be hard for the boys to take on.
“So we’ll just have to tinker and continue to try and layer in the way we want to attack.
“The way we defended the other night against a very good Newcastle outfit… for us to hold them scoreless with a squad full of young kids, was pretty exceptional.
“That defensive discipline and structure, if we can build on that now and hopefully with a few boys coming back in, we can find that little bit better balance when we have the ball, that would be pleasing.
“So that’s what we’re looking to try and do this weekend.”
Zadkovich went on to stress that while the club’s fixture pile-up presents a major challenge, he remains firmly focused upon the vision he has for the squad going forward.
“It’s a very clear plan,” he said.
“I know the way that my teams play and what’s really important amidst all this turmoil and heavy scheduling is that the clarity in my head stays clear and if the lads aren’t picking it up as quickly as I’d like, it’s more down to the fact that we haven’t had the time on the grass or the time together.
“I know that the outcome at the moment can be frustrating for people and I share that same frustration.
“I’m hurting with those Members and fans that want to come to home games and see the team win, but I’m also a realist and I think people need to keep their expectations in check because, at the moment, we’ve got 11-13 players on the injury table.
“That’s not their fault; it’s a product of how the season has played out.
“So I’ll keep picking up the pieces and I certainly won’t be hiding behind excuses.
“I’ll keep picking the team, how ever old and how ever experienced, that I believe can win us the game.”
Glory will be seeking a first ever victory over the Bulls who currently occupy fifth place in the table and the Head Coach is expecting Ante Milicic’s men to provide a stern test.
“Macarthur are an interesting team,” he said.
“They can put goals on teams quickly and defensively they’re very structured and resolute.
“They are tough to break down at times.
“I expect a really aggressive, disciplined performance from them and I think we have to be very clever in the transition moments, especially defensive transitions, because they have some very good key players and some attacking threats that hurt you really quickly.”
In terms of early team news, Zadkovich confirmed that Bruno Fornaroli will link up with the squad when they arrive in Sydney having returned from international duty with the Socceroos, while Mitch Oxborrow and Osama Malik will also come back into the selection mix having served their respective suspensions and Andy Keogh could also feature.
The Bulls will head into the game looking to build upon a 2-2 draw with Sydney FC last time out and secure a fifth home victory of the campaign.
English winger Craig Noone has been one of their main attacking weapons this term, contributing three goals and four assists, while former Phoenix man Ulises Davila is their top scorer with five.