Academy side fully focused on crunch clash

The PGFC Academy First Team will be out for revenge when they travel to to Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium on Saturday to face Andy Keogh's Inglewood United.

The hosts are one of only three sides to have beaten the youngsters this season and if they do manage to avenge that Round 10 defeat, John Gibson's ladder leaders will take another sizable step towards clinching what would be the club's first NPL title since entering the competition in 2014.

And it's not just the First Team that is performing well.

The Under-20s are in fourth spot having played two games fewer than the teams around them, while the Under-18s sit second and also have a game in hand, meaning all three teams are on track to feature in the NPL Top Four Finals at the end of the regular season.

Last week, the First Team beat Stirling Lions 3-0 and while Head Coach John Gibson conceded that it wasn't his side's best display, he was impressed by how deep they dug to claim the points.

“It was a very tough game against a good Stirling side," he said, "and they made it very difficult for us and created many problems.

“But credit to our group for holding firm, especially in the first half. Throughout the course of the game it was eventful and we did fantastically well to maintain our focus and concentration. It wasn’t our best performance due to the opposition playing well, but also due to ourselves.”

Despite Glory enjoying a six-point lead at the top of the table with only four games left to play, Gibson is refusing to get carried away and insists that there is still more to come from his young group.

"We've progressed nicely this season," he said, "but we haven't done anything yet and we are focused on another consistent performance on Saturday and nothing more.

“This season is going ok. We’ve been super-competitive and our mentality is strong. The performances have been consistent, but we still have major improvement within.”

Defender Luke Bodnar, meanwhile, has only missed one game this season and the 17-year-old feels that the Academy side has really risen to the physical challenge of the NPL.

"It was a great result against Stirling that brought us one step closer to the league title,” he said.

“The game showed the increased maturity in the group and due to the experience the team now has, we were able to close the game out. We've done that consistently all season, whereas in previous seasons we would have found a way to lose.

“The consistent performances and learning to deal with teams physically has been a big reason for our success this season. We’re playing together as a team rather than playing for ourselves which is something that has not happened in previous seasons.”

And Bodnar is confident that Glory can overcome what he expects to be another tough physical and mental test this weekend.

"We're looking forward to the game and with a win, our league title dream is that much closer to coming true,” he said.

“Playing against Inglewood and Andy [Keogh] always adds that more competitive edge to the game as we all want to beat his side that much more.

“But we will go out looking to play our usual football and have our competitive and winning mentality and get the job done whatever that may take.”

Saturday's action gets underway at 11am with the Under-18s who will be followed by the Under-20s at 1pm.

Kick-off time for the First Team game is 3pm.

#OneGlory