Ex-Perth Glory flyer Adrian Zahra is relishing a crack at his former Hyundai A-League club in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32.
Zahra, 26, now plays for PS4 NPL Victorian club Heidelberg United, who will host Glory in a marquee tie of the opening round of the FFA Cup at Olympic Village next month.
READY FOR CRACK AT GLORY
“Everyone was very excited by the draw,” Zahra said.
“We knew it was going to be a tough draw whoever we played and obviously facing an A-League team is going to be that much more difficult.
“But I think as players we all wanted an A-League club just to see where we’re at as individuals and collectively. And it’s great for the club as the game will draw a good crowd and make some money.
“There’s no better time to be playing an A-League team because they will only be in the early stages of their pre-season and won’t have hit their straps.
“But we’re not under any illusions; we know it’s going to be very tough.”
SOME JOURNEY FOR ZAHRA
After making his Hyundai A-League debut for Melbourne Heart in a Derby against Victory, Zahra looked a star of the future before suffering a career-threatening knee injury.
But he’s loving his time in the NPL with Heidelberg, playing a key role in driving George Katsakis’ men to the summit of the Victorian NPL table.
“There’s not a huge difference in standard between the NPL and the A-League,” Zahra said.
“It’s pretty physical and the conditions make it a little bit harder to play which is probably why it’s not quite as technical as the A-League.
“The pace and physicality is similar, but because the players aren’t training full-time, they’re definitely not as fit and sharp. It’s just those little one-percenters that are missing.”
NO EASY RIDE FOR GLORY
“It’s [Olympic Village] a really nice to place to play. There are renovations going on at the club because a lot of money has been pumped in by the council.
“The dressing rooms are brand new and really good and going forward, things are looking really positive. Behind the scenes everyone works tirelessly to make things work and there’s a real family atmosphere here.
“On the field, we tend to mix it up tactically from game to game.
“Teams are coming after us a little bit at the moment and trying to shut us down, so there are times when we look to turn them around in the first 15 minutes and see how they react to that.
“But most times we just try to win the physical battle and then outplay the teams we come up against.
“We’ve got the best defence and the best attack in the league right now, so we deserve to be where we are.”