Bring on SUNDAY

“Focus” was very much the buzzword when Glory coach Ian Ferguson and club skipper Jacob Burns fronted the media at a sun-drenched Patersons Stadium on Friday morning.

“Focus” was very much the buzzword when Glory coach Ian Ferguson and club skipper Jacob Burns fronted the media at a sun-drenched Patersons Stadium on Friday morning.

The build-up to Sunday-s blockbusting season-opener against Brisbane Roar has of course been dominated by the lingering controversy arising from last season-s dramatic Grand Final between the two sides, when Besart Berisha-s hotly-disputed late penalty ultimately clinched a second successive title for the Queenslanders.

Both Ferguson and Burns, however, were keen to look ahead rather than dwell upon those events that unfolded at Suncorp Stadium back in April.

“I knew there-d be a lot of hype leading into the game, it-s not come as any surprise”, said Ferguson.

“But we know we-ve got to be focused.

“We-ve got a job to do on Sunday and that is to get the three points.

“I-ve heard there might be a few surprises for Berisha, but we can-t worry about what-s happening on the terraces.

“We-ve just got to stay focused and make sure we-re ready for this challenge.”

Burns, who claimed the Joe Marston Medal for his Man-of-the-Match display in the Grand Final, echoed his boss-s sentiments.

“I don-t think you ever completely forget something like that and we are using it as motivation, but the past is the past.

“It-s a new season and we-re looking forward to it.

“Brisbane are a fantastic team, but we had some great qualities to make that Final and play as we did and now we-ve got a wonderful opportunity this season to go one better and that-s our focus.

“We-ve got to keep our heads and stick to our game plan.

“It-s only one game at the start of the season, but we want to start on the right foot, put on a good display for a big crowd and get the three points to get our season on the roll straight away.”

Ferguson then went on to reveal that Glory-s superb pre-season form has left him plenty to think about in terms of which eleven players get the nod to start in front of a massive crowd Patersons Stadium.

“It-s been very difficult to pick a starting side”, he admitted.

“I had a chat with the players yesterday (Thursday) and I told them that everyone has done a fantastic job over the pre-season and they-ve given me one hell of a headache. “But what a headache to have.

“I-m going to have to leave some great players out of the starting side and have some of them sitting on the bench and others sitting in the stands.”

Agreeing with Ferguson-s comments regarding the squad-s strength in depth, skipper Burns also pointed out that a greater level of pressure had been placed upon the player group in the wake of last season-s success, a factor the 34-year-old has readily embraced as a positive.

“I think there-s a tremendous confidence in our group”, he said.

“You want to win things as a footballer and we-ve set the benchmark for ourselves.

“There-s a huge target on our backs now and great expectations from our own fans.

“But it-s something we-re going to have to live with and it-s a good position to be in.

“Each season we come into we set our targets high and want to go one better and it-s going to be even harder this season.

“I think you-ll see the competition is going to be even tighter.

“There have been some great players signed, but we know what qualities we have and what we have to do to get results and I-ll be pushing as hard as I can to make sure that we lift that trophy at the end of the season.”

In terms of early team news ahead of Sunday-s showdown, meanwhile, Chris Harold and Evan Berger remain short of match fitness and won-t feature, but otherwise Ferguson expects to have a full-strength squad from which to make a difficult final selection.

“I won-t tell the players who-s in and who-s out until tomorrow (Saturday)”, he said. “We-re working on a few things today and I-ll assess it after this session and let them know.

“We-ve got one or two slight little knocks and that-s another reason why we-ll delay telling the players what the side is.