The PGFC Academy First Team will be out to boost their NPL top-four hopes when they head south to take on Rockingham City at SafeRad Stadium on Saturday afternoon (kick off at 3pm).
Richard Garcia’s side produced a battling performance last week to overcome a determined Stirling Lions outfit and the Head Coach was quick to praise his charges’ attitude and fighting spirit.
“I was delighted for the boys last week,” he said.
“They had to fight to get the points, which showed a different side of their game.
“Again, we had plenty of possession and created some good chances, but I was very happy in the way they did the basics; the things that don’t often get the plaudits.”
Garcia was also thrilled to see youngsters Trent Ostler and Gabriel Popovic come off the bench for Glory’s senior side in Wednesday’s FFA Cup clash with Western Sydney Wanderers.
“I was really pleased for both of them,” he said.
“They worked hard when they came on and showed glimpses of their potential against an A-League team.
“We have a number of players training with the first team at the moment and that is testing both them and the depth of our group, but it shows the quality we have in our Academy.
“Hopefully, in time, we can see more players being tested in the A-League environment.”
In terms of Saturday’s NPL fixture, meanwhile, Garcia is expecting relegation-threatened Rockingham to pose a stern challenge.
“[Head Coach] Cameron [Lord] has done a great job at Rockingham and we know we will have to be at our best to bring home the points,” he said.
“But we are focused on finishing the season well. Making the top four is only two points away from us, so we are determined to perform well and get a positive result.”
One player who is expected to feature prominently against City is Liam Murray.
The 18-year-old midfielder has been in sparkling form in recent weeks for both the First Team and the Under-20s, whom he helped secure the State League Reserves Cup with a hat-trick in the Final against Cockburn City.
He shone again for the First Team against Stirling last time out and felt that the 1-0 win over the Lions was a crucial one.
“Last week was a big win for us as we push for top-four football,” he said.
“It was a hard game, as they always are in this league, especially when the other team defend for the majority of the game and try and hit us on the counter.
“It’s very hard to break teams down that do that, but we pulled through and managed to score later on which was vital for us.”
Murray, who arrived in Perth from the UK in 2011 with his brother and fellow-Academy player, Cameron, previously plied his trade at Sorrento, Perth SC, ECU Joondalup and Stirling in WA.
But he is relishing the challenge at Glory and is eager to test himself again against Rockingham this weekend.
“Like I said, every game is hard in this league no matter what team it is or where they are in the table,” he said.
“We’ve got to go there, play our football and stick to our game plan and if do that, we’re confident we can come home with three points.”
Ahead of the First Team game, the Under-18s will be in action at 11am, with the Under-20s following at 1pm.
Do get along to lend the lads your support if you can, but if you can’t make it to the game, you can view the Under-20s and First Team games via Football West’s live stream HERE.