Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe hopes to emulate the success of the back end of last season as the team prepares for its 20th season in domestic football.
Lowe believes his side, including 14 Western Australian born or raised players, are champing at the bit to begin their new campaign and improve on last season’s fifth place finish.
“We just want to do as well as we can,” said Lowe.
“You know, we want to grow each year and there’s different ways of growing.”
“We want to maintain that level and that we are in and around the top teams. Three points the year before and 6 points last year (off top position). If we can improve on those things, we will be in a good spot.”
Glory played a combined Inglewood United and Floreat Athena outfit last Friday night romping to an 8-0 victory.
“We’re really keen in this competition for places in our group and you could see that in the game. You know everyone was fired up and really on the button so it’s pleasing from that perspective that we’ve got lads that are really motivated and want to be in the starting eleven, which is excellent”.
“There are always tough decisions. It’s part and parcel of it but hopefully we’ve got a good group, we’ve got a good mentality that sacrifices for the team. I’m sure everyone will want to play but everybody can’t play, that’s a fact but we’ve just got to be together and move on as a group.”
Diego Castro was involved in the drubbing of the local side, scoring in his first pre-season appearance.
After an extended break following his Johnny Warren medal winning campaign, Lowe said Castro has returned in better shape than last year and will get valuable minutes when the side takes on Brisbane Roar in a friendly in Sydney on Tuesday.
“He’s come in better nick than he did when he came from La Liga, so maybe the holiday and the relaxation has agreed with him” Lowe said.
“Him and Tags (Adam Taggart) are not quite there yet. There’s another 3 weeks for that but they’ll probably get another 45 minutes each on Tuesday so bit by bit with those two and we’ll get them up and firing for the beginning of the season”.
The signs are looking good for new recruits Adam Taggart and Rhys Williams despite injury interrupted careers as Lowe believes that they are back on the right track.
“Tags and Rhys, you know they’ve had a tough couple of years with injuries but they aren’t missing sessions, not missing games so touch wood, we are in a good spot.”
The friendly is almost a full dress rehearsal for Glory ahead of the upcoming season, which kicks off in 19 days against the Central Coast Mariners.
“It’s somewhere near. Like I said earlier, Tags and Diego aren’t at that level yet for full games. They are probably 45, maybe 60 but I think the rest of the boys will get some good game time in.”
The squad for the Socceroos’ next two World Cup qualifiers against Saudi Arabia and Japan will be announced on Tuesday and Lowe has no doubts that Josh Risdon has the quality to make Ange Postecoglou’s side.
“I think Josh has always got a chance”.
“If he keeps progressing as he’s progressed, he’s got a great opportunity but ultimately it’s down to Josh Risdon. If Rizzo wants to go to a World Cup, he’ll go, that’ll be his choice because he’ll have worked hard to earn it. If he wants to leave, he’ll leave because he’s earned it. No one’s going to give him anything for nothing.”
The pre-season match gets underway at 3pm at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney and will be closed to the public.