Academy sides seeking home comforts

The PGFC Academy teams will be back on home turf at Ashfield this Sunday when they entertain Stirling Lions in Week 22 of the Football West NPL.

And with just five rounds of the regular season to go, the stakes are high for all three sides as the First Team and Under-18s are top of their respective leagues, while the Under-20s are sitting fourth, but with two games in hand on those above them.

The First Team are enjoying their best season ever in the competition and yet Head Coach John Gibson feels that there is plenty more to come from his in-form young charges.

"We’ve done ok this season and the players have improved," he said, "but we all know there is major improvement still to be made and that’s the challenge ahead of us now.

"We are a young group who have been coping with playing in a senior competition and that’s a nice achievement. We know other teams are always coming for us and we are prepared.

"There has been hard work for many years from all of our coaches in the program and all three teams are progressing nicely. We've given senior debuts to 10-15 players this season which is pretty exciting and cool.

"On Saturday we play Stirling and we're quietly confident that if we keep to our plan and structures, we will get a positive, consistent performance."    

The two sides met at Macedonia Park back in Round 9 in a game which holds fond memories for Walter Scott who bagged a last-gasp winner after Glory had fought back from 2-0 down.

“Yes, I remember it well," he said. "It was a very challenging one, but enjoyable for myself and the lads.

“It was a whole team performance, with great impact from the lads that came off the bench. We will need everyone to be involved and pushing again this weekend to achieve a positive result and gain the three points."

Scott is poised to return to the side on Sunday after missing last week's draw at Sorrento through suspension and he's looking forward to a game that could have a huge bearing upon Glory's title tilt.

“I’m buzzing to be back playing this weekend and we understand how strong a side Stirling are,” he said.

“But we are only concerned about ourselves and what we can control. We know three points is vital and the staff and boys are very focused on that.”

The defender, who has trained with the Hyundai A-League squad in recent weeks, joined fellow-Academy players Jackson Lee, Daniel Stynes and Yagoub Mustafa on the bench for the friendly against EPL giants Chelsea at Optus Stadium on Monday.

And he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“Monday was amazing," he said, "and to be involved was a great privilege, surrounded by many amazing top professionals in the Chelsea squad and in ours. The night gave me a great insight to another level of football which I aspire to reach one day.”

It's shaping up to be a fascinating day of football at Ashfield, with the Under-18s getting things underway at 11am, before the Under-20s swing into action at 1pm, with the First Team game starting at 3pm.

And if you can't get along to lend the lads your support, we will be streaming the game live via our Facebook page HERE.

#OneGlory