CONSISTENCY THE KEY FOR FOCUSED ZAHRA

Those Glory fans who attended last week's friendly against Stirling Lions could hardly have failed to be impressed by the performance of Adrian Zahra who contributed a well-taken goal and a sublime assist in the 4-0 victory over the State League outfit.

Those Glory fans who attended last week's friendly against Stirling Lions could hardly have failed to be impressed by the performance of Adrian Zahra who contributed a well-taken goal and a sublime assist in the 4-0 victory over the State League outfit.

But while the 22-year-old is keen to reproduce that level of performance this week in Glory's two meetings with Melbourne Heart, he does not feel that he has anything to prove against the club where his A-League career began.

"I don't really think I need to make a point or anything like that," he said. "I really appreciate everything they did for me during my time there and I'm still on really good terms with everyone at the club. "I am a bit disappointed with the way I left things because it was due to a bad injury and in some ways I felt I never got the chance to prove myself at the club. "But I'm at a stage where the important thing for me is not proving any kind of point, it's about playing 100% to the best of my abilities for Perth Glory. "That's my main focus at the moment."

The attacking midfielder made 19 appearances for the red-and-whites during the 2010-2011 campaign, having been blooded in a high-profile pre-season friendly against Everton. And he also played his part in the club's famous 2-1 defeat of Victory in the inaugural Melbourne derby.

"The Everton game wasn't my first trial game," he said, "but it was definitely my first major trial game! "I was only with the club on a training basis at that point and then-coach John van't Schip showed a lot of faith in me which I really appreciated. "He threw me on with about 15 minutes to go and let me take in the whole experience of playing against such a big team. "The derby game was the exact same thing; he put me on late in the game when were down to ten men. "There were three of us on the bench, me, Nick Kalmar and Jason Hoffman and none of us could really play at left-back, but he put me on in that position so funnily enough that was where I ended up making my A-League debut. "Fortunately we came out with a win in the first ever derby and that was a really big thing for the club at that time."

Fast forward to the here-and-now and with the likes of Ryo Nagai, Chris Harold and new recruits Sidnei and Ryan Edwards all potentially vying for wide attacking berths this term, Zahra is keenly aware that he will need to reproduce the kind of form that saw him emerge in such spectacular style for Heart three seasons ago. And he believes that he's capable of helping give Alistair Edwards exactly the kind of selection headache that head coaches dream of.

"I feel that this year has been a better one for me in terms of being consistent," he said. "I'm doing the right things on and off the park and trying to be as consistent as I possibly can in order to really place my stamp on a place in the starting eleven. "I really mean business this year and want to do great things for Glory this season and in seasons to come. "All I can do is control my own outcomes, keep putting it in and doing everything I can to make Alistair pick me. "At the end of the day, the rest of it will take care of itself. "The coach is going to have a tough time trying to pick out of me Chris, Ryo, Ryan and Sidnei and it's the same in all the other positions throughout the team. "We all know that no-one is an automatic starter and everyone's going to be pushing each other for starting places."

That competition for places will really heat up at Inglewood's Intiga Stadium on Wednesday afternoon and then in Mandurah on Saturday, a fact that Zahra confirmed has not been lost on either him or his team-mates.

"With all due respect to the likes of Stirling and Cockburn who were very good teams at a semi-professional level," he said, "these games against Heart are going to be the real test of where we as a group are heading into the season. "There's still another six weeks to go and we are still gelling, but Alistair's got his philosophy and structure and we are really starting to adapt to it and play well. "Results aren't really going to matter right now, but we still need to be playing the football Ali wants us to play and as long as we're doing that, there won't be any problems."

And should the native Melburnian find the net against his former club, can we expect to see him celebrate with a trademark back-flip? Or given his impressive performance during last month's pole-dancing fitness session, could some acrobatics involving the goalposts on the cards?

"It's a bit early to be celebrating goals with back-flips," he said. "As much as I would enjoy scoring against Heart, I won't be doing any of that. "I might give a spin or a whirl off the crossbar, but nothing too much!"

Gareth Morgan

Match Details - Perth Glory FC v Melbourne Heart FC Wednesday 11 September Intiga Stadium Hamer Parade Inglewood KO 3.30pm

Saturday 14 September Hyundai Stadium Mandurah City FC, Peelwood Reserve, Mandurah, KO 3pm