PGFC Academy Latest: First Team relishing Regional Round clash with RedStar – Walmsley

PGFC Academy First Team Head Coach John Walmsley believes that Saturday’s clash with Perth RedStar in Geraldton represents an exciting new challenge for his young charges both on and off the pitch.

Glory will take on the reigning NPL WA Premiers at Wonthella Oval (kick-off at 5pm) as part of Football West’s Regional Festival of Football which will also feature an NPLW fixture between Hyundai NTC and Perth RedStar (kick-off at 3pm).

And Walmsley sees plenty of upside for what is a relatively inexperienced travelling party.

“Especially because we’ve got so many lads who were mainly with the Under-20s last year,” he said, “it could be the first time they’ve been away the night before the game, then played the game and come home the following day.

“It’s a similar routine to the A-League and it’ll be a new experience for some of them.

“From a team morale and team bonding point of view, it’s really good to get away and be in a different environment, do some different things on and off the pitch and make sure the boys enjoy the trip as much as possible.”

With almost a third of the NPL season already completed, the Head Coach feels his side have really impressed at times, but need to maintain those performance levels for longer periods.

“The major positives are that it’s a new group again, with so many players going up to the A-League squad last season,” he said.

“A lot of the group didn’t have First Team experience and they’ve come in and acquitted themselves really well.

“The next phase of that for the boys is them being really consistent with the performance and making sure that it’s not just potential that they’ve got, but consistency in their approach and performance every week.

“In the last couple of weeks, especially the games against Kingsway and Bayswater, there were some good parts of the game, but then there were ups and downs and dips in the performance which we need to minimise.

“We need to be consistent in all moments in order to get the results.”

Although Saturday’s opponents come into the game sitting just three points above Glory in sixth place, Walmsley is keenly aware of the quality in their ranks.

“Teams who you’d expect to be challenging for the title at the end of the season, the likes of RedStar and Stirling [Macedonia], aren’t necessarily where they’d like to be or where you’d expect them to be,” he said.

“But that’s not to say they’re not going to be there at the end.

“It’s a league where every game is competitive, there’s a lot on it and anyone can beat anyone on the day.

“They [RedStar] won the league last year and have probably got the best squad on paper along with [Olympic] Kingsway.

“We’re expecting a tough test against them and it’s always a good game when we play RedStar because they have good footballers which means they want to play a certain type of football.

“We’re looking forward to the contest and it should be a good game for the neutrals as well.”

The Academy Under-18s and Under-20s, both of whom progressed to the quarter-finals of the State Cup last weekend, will not be in action in Geraldton on Saturday.

Instead, both age groups will face RedStar at the Sam Kerr Football Centre on Wednesday 22 May with the games kicking off at 6pm (18s) and 8pm (20s).

(picture courtesy of Tom McCarthy)