SKIPPER TARGETS TUKS

A minor quad strain will prevent Jacob Burns from featuring in Glory's South Africa tour opener against MP Black Aces on Thursday, but the club skipper believes that he and the rest of the squad are already feeling the benefits of their trip to the Republic.

A minor quad strain will prevent Jacob Burns from featuring in Glory's South Africa tour opener against MP Black Aces on Thursday, but the club skipper believes that he and the rest of the squad are already feeling the benefits of their trip to the Republic.

"We're back at the Ingwenyama Resort in Nelspruit for the first week," he said, "and the place has been renovated quite extensively since we were here last year. "They've made some major improvements in terms of the accommodation and the training facilities and it's looking really good. "They've got it all set up for us. "We have Chris Hutchinson and another physio here, so the boys are getting around the clock treatment to make sure that we're ready to go for the game on Thursday. "On Monday we had a double session and they were both really good, bright sessions where the boys worked on passing and movement and it was the same on Tuesday. "We're focusing on getting to know each other's games and working on our structures and philosophy; that's the main objective for us on this trip."

In terms of his own fitness situation, the combative midfielder is confident that he will be available for Glory's second game against Tuks FC in the nation's capital, Pretoria.

"I'm progressively building up under the supervision of the medical staff," he said. "I don't think I'll be ready for the first game on Thursday, but that's more of a precautionary thing. "I think if it was an important league game, I'd definitely be putting myself out there, but we just want to err on the side of caution and make sure I keep progressing. "I'm hoping to get a good solid week of training under my belt here in Nelspruit and then be ready for the game on Sunday."

And while admitting that he finds watching on from the stands extremely difficult, Burns is keen to see how the largely youthful Glory squad shapes up as they tackle newly-promoted ABSA Premiership side MP Black Aces at the splendidly-appointed Mbombela Stadium.

"I don't know too much about the Black Aces," he said, "but there are plenty of pre-season games being shown on tv here and although we haven't actually seen the Black Aces play in any of those games, it has given us an opportunity to get a look at the general standard of the sides here. "They are obviously at the business end of their pre-season preparations and ready to start their new campaign and the boys have been pretty impressed by what they-ve seen on tv. "It's a fantastic stadium at Mbombela and we're looking forward to getting back there and putting in a good performance."

Josh Risdon, meanwhile, is likely to feature against the Aces and Burns revealed that the young defender has been involved in plenty of banter after swapping shirts with Dutch superstar Robin Van Persie in the wake of last week's clash between the Hyundai A-League All Stars and Manchester United.

"It's great to see Josh over here," he said, "and it was fantastic for him to be involved in that game, to play against a team such as Manchester United and to have Robin Van Persie trying to rip his shirt off his back at the end of the game. "That's the way the story's been told anyway. "He reckons the United players were fighting over his jersey! "There was some mention of what Van Persie might be doing with Rizzo's shirt, but I don't think we want to go there!"

Perth Glory's 2013 South Africa tour proudly sponsored by Kaboko Mining, Live2Learn and Europcar

Gareth Morgan