Of the clutch of exciting young players trying to force their way into Ian Ferguson’s squad for Sunday’s clash with Melbourne Heart, Adrian Zahra has a little extra personal motivation.
Of the clutch of exciting young players trying to force their way into Ian Ferguson-s squad for Sunday-s clash with Melbourne Heart, Adrian Zahra has a little extra personal motivation.
The versatile 22-year-old did of course join Glory from the red and whites during the off-season and he is understandably desperate to make his competitive bow for his new club against his former employers.
“I-d love to make my debut for Perth against my old team”, he admitted, “but I-ve just got to wait and see how things work out this week.
“I-ve got to stay patient and wait for the opportunity to come.
“Obviously when you leave a club you-re very keen to play against them and I keep in touch with a lot of the boys such as Zizi (Aziz Behich), Hoffy (Jason Hoffman) (Nick) Kalmar, Thommo (Matt Thompson) and Michael Marrone.
“I-ve spoken to them already this week and they-ll be happy to catch up before the game, but once the game is on, no-one-s mates, you just get on with it and hopefully we-ll get the three points.”
Having finally shrugged off the effects of the infamous Kevin Muscat challenge that left him requiring knee surgery last year, Zahra featured prominently in Glory-s highly-successful pre-season campaign and clearly believes that he is close to being back to his best.
“I feel that my confidence is coming back”, he said.
“I-m feeling physically good and fit and now I-ve just got to stay patient and wait for the opportunity to come.
“Last year it was harder on me because I missed the whole pre-season and was then chasing the pack and trying to come from behind.
“This year I had a full pre-season, played in nine of the ten friendlies that we had and to come through all that after the injury I had was a relief and something that got my confidence up.”
In terms of Sunday-s opponents, meanwhile, Zahra has been impressed by their form to date, but believes that Glory are more than capable of inflicting a first defeat of the season upon John Aloisi-s side.
“I thought Heart were very impressive in the derby”, he said.
“They kept Victory to a minimum of passing and did really well.
“Even last week, to scrap out a result with ten men (against Wellington) was good for them, but my main focus is what we-re doing.
“We-ve played two games and got one great result and been unlucky in the other game and I-m confident that we can get another win this week.”
Those positive sentiments were echoed by Travis Dodd, the man currently occupying Zahra-s preferred position on the right-hand side of midfield.
“It-s important to bounce back this week”, said Dodd.
“It was very disappointing to go over to Central Coast last week and not get anything out of it, but unfortunately that-s the way things go sometimes.
“I-m looking forward to getting back to nib Stadium and it-ll be nice to have Shane Smeltz back with us.
“The last time he played against Heart he scored a hat-trick, so I-m sure he-s looking forward to coming back as well and hopefully he can repeat that on Sunday.”
Hyundai A-League Round 3
PERTH GLORY v MELBOURNE HEART
Sunday, 21 October
nib Stadium, 2pm.