Perth Glory defender Michael Thwaite says he has recovered well from his first 90 minutes of the season and is concentrating on helping the team keep a third clean sheet in a row when they take on Sydney this Saturday at 2.30 p.m. – a feat the team hasn't managed since September 2007.
Perth Glory defender Michael Thwaite is not taking anything for granted these days ...
He-s not assuming he-ll be lining up next to William Gallas in Glory-s backline nor is he assuming he'll receive a Socceroos call up under new coach Ange Postecoglou. All he-s concentrating on is keeping a third clean sheet in a row for Glory when they take on Sydney this Saturday at 2.30 p.m. - a feat the team hasn't managed since September 2007.
Thwaite played his first 90 minutes of the season and said his body “was a little bit sore the next day” but had recovered reasonably well after the weekend.
Coach Alistair Edwards was certainly delighted to have the 30-year-old back in the starting line up with the experienced centre-back leading the Glory defence to a 1-0 victory over Melbourne Heart on Sunday.
“He is a tremendous player. To have a player of that class, and he is class, coming in was great. We had a lot of very good players tonight, and I think he was one of them and it's great to have him back," Edwards said from the post-match conference on Sunday.
Glory defeated the Sky Blues 3-0 in a pre-season friendly earlier this year at Jubilee Park with Jamie Maclaren scoring a brace and Sidnei Sciola netting his first goal for the club on Australian soil. Sydney FC's marquee man Alessandro del Piero played 90 minutes that day and Thwaite is hoping the Italian maestro will be available again for this weekend's clash.
"We had a bit of banter going on between each other, his English is quite good now," Thwaite joked. "You definitely want to play against the best players in the world and he's still currently one of those, so hopefully he does play," Thwaite said.
Thwaite remained tight-lipped when it came to his chances of making Ange Postecoglou's squad for the Socceroos upcoming international against Costa Rica in November, and was concentrating on his role at Perth Glory.
"No I haven't (heard from Ange), obviously I've been injured in the first two weeks and I've only just come back so I'm only purely thinking about Sydney FC and I'm sure the squad will get found out after the weekend."
Of more immediate interest is the impending arrival of former French international William Gallas and the increased competition for the two centre back positions. Thwaite was quick to deny he was the automatic choice to partner Gallas at the back with Steve Pantelidis showing some impressive form over the past three weeks.
"Hopefully he's fit and raring to go. I think he's due to come in the next fortnight we're told," said Thwaite. "It's always good, you basically want to have two players for every position and make sure you're on your toes and if you're not performing or there's an injury or suspension, the next guy comes in."
"I don't think its necessarily me and him" said Thwaite. "The physio and the coach just have to assess where they want to play him in our team and where he's best suited."
"I think you can see from how Panta is playing that he has probably been our most consistent player in my opinion, in pre-season and in the three years he's been at Perth," Thwaite said.
The 14,000-strong home crowd was critical in Glory-s victory over Heart and the fringe Socceroo declared the passionate support would remain integral to the team's success throughout the season.
"(They) were amazing. When you first walk out and just seeing the new stadium full, it definitely lifts you, especially in the 80th minute when we were feeling the heat and as the opposition did as well," he added.