Academy First Team embracing "mini-cup'' challenge

The PGFC Academy First Team face an immediate re-match with Inglewood United on Saturday as part of a bottom-six Finals Series which Head Coach Richard Garcia has described a "mini-cup".

The trip to Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium (kick-off at 3pm) is the first of five games in three weeks for the youngsters, with the objective being a place in the semi-finals which will pit the best performing top-six and bottom-six sides against each other.

Glory returned to winning ways at the expense of Inglewood last weekend and Garcia is backing his charges to reproduce what was arguably one of their best performances of the regular season.

"The boys were back to themselves last week which was good to see," he said.

"Their mentality to get over the previous run of results and get back to their best was something we'd been talking about and hopefully the penny has dropped that they don't go into their shells when things go against them.

"That was the best thing, as well as the performance.

"The tempo they played at was fantastic.

"Now we have a game coming up that feels like a second leg and Inglewood will have a point to prove.

"Having played us last week, I'm sure they'll come up with something to try and counteract what we do.

"But it's about our guys going out there and giving a similar performance and playing at the same tempo because when they play at their best, they're very, very good.

"It's coming towards the pointy end of the season and we've got five really competitive games coming up against good opposition, so it's a challenge.

"It's like a mini-cup, with the boys trying to get a good result in every game and push for that final spot."

The prospect of playing three games in seven days would normally see Garcia look to spread the game-time load through his squad, but circumstances dictate that he is unlikely to have that option.

"I would love the luxury of rotating the squad," he said, "but we're pretty tight all the way through.

"We've got Under-15s and Under-16s that are playing Under-18s and it's the same right through the age groups.

"It's a nice taster for them to come up and play in the higher age group, but it means that there aren't going to be too many fresh legs in the next week or so."

Ahead of the First Team game on Saturday, the Under-18s will be in action at 11am, followed by the Under-20s at 1pm.

It's shaping up to be another great afternoon of NPL WA football, so do get along to lend the lads your support if you can.

Alternatively, you can view a live stream of the game from home via the Football West Facebook page HERE.

(picture courtesy of Tom McCarthy)