Garcia targeting strong start at new NPL home

Head Coach Richard Garcia is backing his young charges to make a strong start at their new NPL WA home this weekend.

The PGFC Academy First Team will take on Rockingham City on Saturday at Forrestfield United's 1620 Capital Stadium, Hartfield Park, having secured a point in last week's season-opener against Balcatta.

And Garcia feels that his side are capable of building upon that performance at Grindleford Reserve.  

"It was a decent first hit-out," he said.

"It's going to be a hard year for the guys because they'll always be playing catch-up.

"It's like that for all the other teams, but particularly now that we've got six players out who are training with the [Hyundai A-League] first team, we're lacking a little bit of depth.

"So we are relying on everyone to be able to back up - we had players like Albert Fullard, Jacob Muir and Hugo Snowden who played for the Under-20s and had to come up and play for the Firsts in the Balcatta game.

"That's nothing unusual in NPL, of course, but because they're young bodies, it's going to be a tough task for them to back up like that week after week.

"It's going to be a different challenge every week because different teams will have different levels of fitness and there's been a lot of player movement around the NPL as well.

"That's going to serve up some good challenges for these young guys and a lot of the players that have come into the team would normally have been playing 20s this year.

"So they're getting opportunities which is fantastic and that's something which I think we'll see a lot of this year - young guys staking a claim for a place and gaining great experience at First Team level."

Garcia also believes that the splendidly-appointed 1620 Capital Stadium will prove to be a great venue for the club's Academy sides.

"Forrestfield United is a very good club and it's great to have a group of people that want to work closely with us and help out the younger element of this club," he said.

"We've had some good discussions about surfaces and things like that and they're very open to helping us out.

"They're a club on the rise and have a big catchment area, with a lot of good players maybe flying under the radar and it's fantastic to be partnering with them in this venture.

"They're helping us and we're helping them out and hopefully it'll be a long-standing partnership."

With the weather set fair for Saturday, meanwhile, the former Socceroo is hoping to see plenty of Glory members and fans heading along to Forrestfield and getting behind the youngsters, just as they did at Balcatta last weekend.

"It was fantastic to have a lot of support from the Glory faithful [at Balcatta]," he said.

"They're obviously craving a bit of football and it's great to see them coming down to support the young guys.

"It was definitely mentioned by the young guys in the changing rooms afterwards and the more support we have at games, the more these young players get a taste of what professional football is like.

"So hopefully those members and fans will keep coming as the season progresses."

Saturday's action gets underway at 11am with the Under-18s, followed by the Under-20s at 1pm and the First Team at 3pm.

And don't forget that admission for Glory and Forrestfield United members is FREE.

#OneGlory

(picture courtesy of Tom McCarthy)