Perth Glory hit the road on Saturday, when they travel to Frank Drago Reserve to take on the PS4 National Premier League WA league leaders and current Champions, Bayswater City.
It’s a huge challenge for the Glory youngsters but Coach John Gibson said they are relishing every challenge.
“We played them earlier in the season and were beaten by the odd goal, but the group is really looking forward to another tough game this weekend,” he said.
“The group has made giant strides this season, but Bayswater are the benchmark side in the competition and it’s our aim to become better and more consistent, and the group is striving every moment to achieve that.”
The NPL squad has been hit hard with injuries, suspensions and first team commitments but Gibson said they have a no excuses policy and conversely it gives the opportunity for others to impress.
“It was great news for Jacob Collard, Stefan Valentino, Slobodan Vulin to be in the travelling party for the A-League side in the Westfield FFA Cup at Newcastle Jets - and Jacob and Stefan received game time - which is exciting,” he said.
“It shows their performances have been recognised by Kenny and his coaching staff and they've got the opportunity to train with the first team, along with a number of other NPL first team players, and the trio has been selected in the senior squad which is fantastic for them.
“There absence has given an opportunity to others within the program and they are coping well with the demands and standards that have been set by the group for the PS4 NPL Season.
“Ross Millard was outstanding defensively last week, and Nathan Costello has been quality all year, also younger members of the program have been afforded opportunities to be involved in senior football and have surprised, but not surprised me - this bodes well for the future of the program moving forward.
“The entire group is constantly improving and regardless of opposition the group, is always consistently displaying good signs of maturity, which is pleasing.”
Costello, who continues to be one of the shining lights in the NPL side this season, led the side in the absence of Jacob Collard last week, and again put in a performance of real maturity. He said the younger players played their parts in a solid second half performance.
“We made too many errors in the first half, but I thought the second half we played some good football, and attacked as a team and defended as a team, which always helps,” he explained.
“It’s good for us seniors and the youngsters to pit our wits against a side at the top of the table and a side that have just played in the FFA Cup, but I thought we matched them for large periods of the game which shows how far we have come.”
The 20-year-old said Saturday’s game is their biggest test of the season, but refused to be intimidated by the defneding Champions.
“We’re all looking forward to the challenge, and we know it doesn’t get any harder than taking on the league leaders on their patch,” he said.
“But we have performed well this season and don’t fear anyone. We go into every game looking to improve and looking for all three points, and that won’t change on Saturday.”
The game will kick off at 3pm at Frank Drago Reserve, Bayswater.