NDUMBA TO DEBUT

Alistair Edwards is set to give Ndumba Makeche his first Hyundai A-League start against Melbourne Victory, after the 21-year-old scored a first-half hat trick against Malaysian opposition during the week and made an impressive appearance off the bench against Wellington Phoenix last Friday night.

Alistair Edwards is set to give Ndumba Makeche his first Hyundai A-League start against Melbourne Victory, after the 21-year-old scored a first-half hat trick against Malaysian opposition during the week and made an impressive appearance off the bench against Wellington Phoenix last Friday night.

Makeche showed his class on Tuesday when Perth Glory played Malaysian Premier League outfit, Felda United, scoring three quality goals with Jamie Maclaren playing in behind the Zambian-born striker.

“Ndumba Makeche will start against Melbourne Victory because he-s performing well and his part of a squad that we believe in,” Edwards said from Perth Airport.

In a new-look strike partnership, Makeche and Maclaren will lead the Glory frontline against the Victory at AAMI Park as Edwards praised the versatility of his young squad to play a range of positions.

“I think the whole forward area linked up very well (against Felda United). The best thing about Jamie is he can play as a number 9 or he can also play in behind the striker. He did that with the Young Socceroos so there-s a lot of versatility within our team.”

“We have got a lot of pace out wide but we also have a lot of mobility in the centre of the park as well because the modern game is moving towards the pace and mobility and you-ll find with a lot of players coming through, they-re first and foremost very good footballers, but they-ve also got the ability to get around the park very well, so that helps with the style of play we want to play,” he added.

In another boost to the Glory, Captain Jacob Burns returns after serving out his two-match suspension. Edwards continues to give opportunities to his young squad, as was evident in last week-s 4-2 victory over Wellington where 10 players under the age of 22 made an appearance, but recognises the value of his senior players.

“We-re getting players back, slowly but surely. We believe in the squad but we also know the importance of the experienced players as well.”

It will be the biggest crowd of the season Perth have played in front of so far with 17-000 fans expected to see the match, but Edwards says the team is looking forward to the challenge.

“A lot of teams might get intimidated by that but it-s quite the opposite for us. Everyone is really looking forward to it. I think that has been mentioned about four or five times amongst the different players during the week about how much they are looking forward to playing at what is probably the best boutique stadium in the country. It will be one of the biggest crowds they would-ve played in front of this year and it-s a challenge they are really looking forward to.”

“There will be a couple (of players) that haven-t experienced it - the same as Brisbane Roar last week. They were in awe of the size of that stadium (Suncorp Stadium),” he said. “When you-re introducing young players into the squad, that-s going to happen quite a bit but they-ve heard a lot about it. It-s the best atmosphere in the whole country because of the way the stadium has been designed, so everyone is looking forward to it,” he said.