Ruben relishing Central Coast friendly clash

Glory will face ISUZU UTE A-League rivals Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on Thursday (4pm kick-off EST at Central Coast Stadium) as part of a pre-season trip to the east coast.

The clash with Nick Montgomery’s side, who recorded a fifth-place finish last season, will mark a third pre-season outing for the men in purple following the win over Perth SC and the draw with Inglewood United.

Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich is naturally delighted that his charges will now have an opportunity to test themselves against A-League level opposition.

“It’s a competitive game which we need and it’ll give us a good gauge as to where we’re at,” he said.

“You can try and replicate that match intensity as much as you can in training and we’ve done a good job of keeping it really high and the boys have been working hard, but there’s no substitute for those competitive games at A-League level.

“So playing a team like Central Coast, who have had numerous hit-outs against A-League teams already, is an opportunity we’ll grab with both hands.

“We’ll give most players minutes, mix and match the players and take as much as we can from the trip

“These games are crucial to give us the best chance come Round One.”

Zadkovich believes that the trip, which will feature another friendly game next week (details TBC), will also serve a vital purpose off the field.

“We’re very grateful to the club for taking us across to the east coast and investing in our improvement as a group,” he said.

“We’re excited to go away as a group and bond and that for me is one of the biggest things.

“Watching the players and the staff grow together as a group and really get to know each other as people and really harnessing who we are and what we represent, I’ve been really impressed by everyone’s attitude.

“There’s a nice positivity around the group and a work ethic that is now representative of a high-performance environment and a club that is going in the right direction.

“We’ve got big steps to take, but we’ve taken a few of them… and I know where we’re at and where we need to be.

“It’s a long road ahead of us, but what I love at the moment is the quality of the people involved and the way they’re going about their work.”

Overall, the Head Coach is pleased with the way the squad is travelling ahead of the big kick-off on Sunday 9 October.

“We’re in a big rebuilding phase with a lot of new faces,” he said.

“It’s a very tricky situation where we’re trying to rebuild and reshape players and signing new ones and trying to get them to fit in.

“There are a lot of moving parts and we’re only in the early stages of implementing our playing style and attacking and defensive principles.

“But the boys’ attitude and mentality has been fantastic.”