Perth Glory hit the road this weekend, when they visit Dorrien Gardens to take on 20 time state Premier League winners Perth Soccer Club.
Glory assistant coach Jacob Burns said the Glory youngsters had progressed well this season despite a 2-1 loss against Inglewood last week.
“I couldn’t have been more pleased with the performance last week, and the way they have taken on board what we are trying to implement with the program,” Burns said.
“It’s a massive learning curve for some of these young players and coming up against senior players week in and week out, they have performed well, and the coaching staff couldn’t be more pleased with their progress”.
“The results have shown this season, the players are stronger and have worked hard on the physical side of their game, and we’re not getting pushed off the ball now, we’re holding our own and that’s great to see,” he explained.
“We pride ourselves on performance, and we as coaches, can see that they are not getting the rewards for their performances this season. But what's positive is that we have been in every game we’ve played this season, and there haven't been any blowouts.
The trip to Perth is a huge test, but Burns said the players won't be daunted and were looking forward to the challenge.
However Glory will head to Dorrien Gardens on Saturday without top goalscorer Joe Knowles.
The striker, who was the club's leading scorer in the Foxtel National Youth League and bagged a hat-trick in the Round two at Armadale, received bad news this week confirming he had suffered a stress fracture in his foot and won't play for the rest of the season.
“I’m obviously gutted to find out that I’m going to be out for the next six months, but I just need to stay positive and work hard in my rehabilitation to be back as soon as possible,” he said.
“I have a stress fracture in my navicular, which is a bone in the foot and it was caused by two different bones around it putting pressure on it causing it to crack.
“I’ve been to a couple of specialists and they all tell me different stories, but I have to wait and see if I'm going to have to have surgery or not, but usually these injuries are 4-6 months.”
Burns said he and the team wished Knowles a speedy recovery and hoped he could still make a return by the end of the season.
"Joe has performed well in the NYL season, but it gives other guys the opportunity and Stef (Valentini) has stepped up in recent weeks and performed well,” he said.
“But overall the side has been fantastic this season, we were handed some heavy defeats last season, but that’s not been the case this campaign, and that’s down to the hard work and dedication of the young players.”
The match against Perth kicks off at 3pm. Glory's under 18s and Under-20s kick off at 11am and 1pm respectively at Dorrien Gardens.