BACK ON BOARD

Perth Glory's pre-season preparations got underway on a gorgeous winter's day amidst the tranquil surroundings of Mount Claremont's John XXIII School and players and staff alike were clearly delighted to be back on deck.

Perth Glory's pre-season preparations got underway on a gorgeous winter's day amidst the tranquil surroundings of Mount Claremont's John XXIII School and players and staff alike were clearly delighted to be back on deck.

"We've been away for seven weeks," said Head Coach Alistair Edwards, "so it's great to be back and the boys are buzzing. "I'm just really, really excited about the season to come. "We've spent a lot of the off-season doing a lot of planning, restructuring the football department and all those kinds of things, but the most enjoyable thing is being on the park and it's great to see all the boys back with smiles on their faces playing on a great surface here at John XXIII School. "We're really looking forward to the season coming up."

With Michael Thwaite, Scott Jamieson and Josh Risdon away at the Socceroos training camp on the Central Coast and Daniel De Silva and Jack Duncan yet to return from the Under-20 FIFA World Cup in Turkey, the playing group was a little short of its full quota, but Edwards was quick to point out that several new additions are set to arrive shortly.

"We've got some pretty exciting signings on the horizon," he said. "We're just in the final stages of negotiations with a few people, so we'll be making some really good announcements shortly. "We've got a good balance into the squad and to be honest, if I had to start the season with this squad, I'd be very happy. "But the fact is we've got some more spaces on the roster and we're just looking to make sure that we get the right people who fit into our philosophy of play. "We've got two parts to our recruitment strategy, making sure we've got the right balance with the experienced players and the younger players. "There's probably one player we're looking at to bring in to add a bit more experience, but historically the Glory team has been a bit lightweight in terms of the exciting young talent coming through and we've been focusing on that. "We've already got a very good core group of experienced players and we're just looking to balance that off with some exciting young players."

Rising young star Jamie Maclaren will arrive to bolster the squad shortly, after penning a three-year deal with the club earlier this week and he could be set to link up with another attacking talent in the form of Sidnei Sciola Moraes. The 27-year-old Brazilian will spend the week on trial with Glory hoping to earn a permanent deal and the man who lists top Portuguese side Boavista among his former employers certainly impressed on day one.

"He comes highly recommended," said Edwards. "He's only just arrived in the country and he's on trial with us, so we'll see how he goes. "He paid his own way to come across and he's heard some really good things about Perth from some players who played here before, like Edgar Junior, so he's come over and he looks quite handy."

Another hot topic for the assembled media pack was Daniel De Silva whose stellar performances in the green and gold of Australia at last month's Under-20 FIFA World Cup led to him being linked with several of Europe's biggest-name clubs. Edwards, however, is adamant that the 16-year-old won't be affected by the speculation and won't be leaving Glory anytime soon.

"Daniel comes from a wonderful family," he said, "and the fact is that I've known him very well for the past three years. "I would like to have had him slipping under the radar for longer, but that's not happening any more. "His Man of the Match performance against the South American champions (Colombia) has sparked a lot of interest in him, but he arrives back tonight and I've got a meeting with his family tonight. "The best thing about it is that they are very level-headed, they're very happy with what's going on at Perth Glory and he won't be going anywhere."

Gareth Morgan