Perth Glory’s U-18’s and U-20’s will be vying for a spot in the final of this weekend’s West Australian Top Four Cup.
The top four sides in each PS4 NPLWA league’s will take part in the cup format, and on Saturday Callum Salmon’s under 18’s take on Stirling Lions in the Major Semi-Final at Dorrien Gardens (10.30am).
It’s a rematch of last weekend’s top of the table clash which decided eventual premiers Stirling at Ashfield last weekend
Despite the 3-1 defeat Salmon has delighted with the way his troops have performed over the season
“Overall, Davey Butterfield (assistant) and I have been very pleased with the application, commitment and hard work of our group this season. They've been an absolute pleasure to work with and have responded very well to the expectations Perth Glory have of a U'18 group on and off the field”.
“We've had more boys involved with the U-20s, 1st team and Hyundai A-League team than we've ever had in years gone by, and that speaks volumes for the quality of the players we've had at our disposal.
Salmon said Stirling is a very good side and is looking forward to the rematch
“As we've said to the boys, the season is far from over and we'll be looking to win our remaining games while attempting to play the best football we can against the quality opposition in the cup,” he said.
“No question we're expecting a very tough game again this weekend. Stirling counters -attack very quickly, often punishing mistakes with goals and is very competitive.
The side has been led superbly by skipper and midfielder Luca Bodnar, and his absence last weekend against Stirling, as well as Riley Warland didn’t help their cause
Striker Abias Bukuru is also crucial and if can put away his chances. Glory should go a long way in winning the game.
Central defender Zayd Farah and central midfielder Sasa Njegic will also be important, both are key players for the side.
Bobby Despotovski’s under 20’s will take on Balcatta in the Minor Semi-Final at the ECU Football Stadium (12.45pm).
After taking out the Premiership last season, the Glory legend was determined to reach the top four, and have an impact on the finals.
“We have said from the first day of the season, we would like to get into the top four and try to win it from there, well the first part is completed now we have to concentrate on the second part,” he said.
“Last season we won the league, and this season has been different from my perspective. We have played some fantastic football but we were unable to finish it off in lots of games, and that has shown and it is reflecting on our final finishing spot on the league ladder.
“As you can see along with Bayswater, we have the best defensive record with 31 goals conceded during the seasons 22 rounds, but we have just struggled to score this year and it wasn’t for lack of chances created, we were just not clinical enough in front of the goal”.
“But saying that I must say again how proud I am of the whole squad. Everyone has played their part in the season, most of the players had their chance to impress and show coaching staff what they can do. Even players that were coming back from injury were excellent and they played their part in supporting the playing group.”
The under 20’s have spilt the league games between Saturday’s opponents Balcatta, and Despotovski said it should be another good game.
“We’ve played them (Balcatta) twice, and to be completely honest we did perform in both games, and like I said it was the old story, not converting our chances,” he said.
“Hopefully we can rectify our goal scoring problems on Saturday, and it should be a good game of football and I wish both teams good luck, and lastly I would like to thank everyone for their support during the course of the season.”
Striker Sam Pollard is the leading scorer for the side this season and will be important on Saturday, likewise Losene Dulleh and Chok Dau.
Keeper Riley Stephenson has been solid between the sticks, and has also played a number of games for the first team.
Head down to Dorrien Gardens or Joondalup Stadium this weekend and support your Glory!