Perth Glory returns to National Premier League action this weekend and heads into its match against a shaky Floreat Athena, confident of stealing points at Inglewood Stadium on Sunday.
Glory was edged out by Cockburn City in its last league clash but the team returns fresh after the mid-season break.
“It's given me and the other boys time to recover, which has been great as there have been a lot of niggling injuries over the past few weeks,” said skipper Jacob Collard.
“I feel as a team, we have competed with the biggest and the best this year, which has earned us a lot of respect. All we need to do now is finish our chances and be strong all over the park as a team.”
Glory drew 2-2 with Floreat earlier in the season and Collard said it was a great feeling to score the equaliser late in the game.
“The last game was a very tight game and an unbelievable sense of joy when Henry Durr put it away in the 93rd minute,” he said.
“I think we are going to be highly competitive and play with a lot of intensity throughout. It’s going to be a hard game, as they all are. But I believe every week we can cause an upset and I'm very confident that's in the team.”
Head coach John Gibson returns after a well-earned break and praised the efforts of his assistants Jacob Burns and Steve McGarry filling in while he was away.
“Yes it was nice to get away and have a break from football, as it’s been a while since I’ve done it, but it’s nice to be back and it’s like I’ve never been away,” he joked.
“We’ve reviewed the games and once again the lads performed really well and we were unlucky in both games against Sorrento and Cockburn".
“We are showing a great deal of maturity, and that’s even with the younger players coming into the side".
“Last week’s first half was one of the best 45 minutes we’ve played and if we had had a little bit of luck could have put the game to bed, but that’s football,”Gibson said.
On Sunday, Gibson is looking forward to taking on second placed Floreat.
He said it will be a big challenge but one he and the players are looking forward to.
“They (Floreat) have played some great football this season, but I thought we matched them all over the park when we drew on Anzac Day,” he said.
“Like I’ve said all season, it’s a massive learning curve for this player group, but they are showing signs, that the procedures and systems we are implementing are bearing fruit, and we are looking forward to taking on one of the best teams in the league and taking the game to them.”
Athena skipper Ludovic Boi is a former Glory midfielder who made one senior appearance for the club against Melbourne Victory in 2009 and knows that the young guns will be hungry for a result.
Boi says it's important for the blue and whites to bounce back after a bad loss against Sorrento in Round 11.
“We can't underestimate any team in this league, last game we drew against them and we need to get back to winning ways,” he said.
“I had a couple of years with the Glory and I'm sure they will be fit and well-disciplined as they always are. I learnt a lot during my years at the club and I know what is expected of the players so we will have to be at our best.”
“I'm sure the boys will be up for it, but mistakes will cost us games and we need to reduce that; we needed the points to keep in touch with the leaders.” Boi said.
Athena trail PS4 NPL leaders Bayswater by six points and will be determined to stay in touch with City.
Kick-off between Glory and Floreat is at 3pm.
The U-18s and U-20s kick-off at 11am and 1pm respectively.
Entry is free for current Perth Glory FC members.
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