Perth SC will aim to keep the pressure on National Premier Leagues WA leaders Bayswater City by producing a positive performance in a match with emotional significance at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday.
Perth, who trail Bayswater by seven points, will take on Stirling Lions in the inaugural Dylan Tombides Tribute match in honour of the teenager, who recently lost his battle with cancer.
Defender James Marocchi, one of several Perth players to have shared the pitch as a junior with Tombides, who also played at Stirling, acknowledged the extra motivation of the occasion.
“There are three or four members of our first team squad, including myself, who have played with Dylan as juniors and I’m sure we will be right up for the challenge,” he said.
The home side is expected to give a debut to former Socceroos defender Adrian Madaschi, while Alex Castiello also returns from injury.
Marocchi believes the Lions, who have struggled with injuries and are ninth on the table, are better than their position suggests.
“Stirling haven’t really hit their straps this season as of yet but the quality of their squad is massive and their morale will be very high after their come from behind win in the cup at the weekend,” he said of the Lions’ Cool Ridge Cup quarter-final win over Floreat Athena last Saturday.
Perth missed out on a finals place last season and Marocchi believes good recruitment has helped turn around their form.
“This year we’ve become a far greater cohesive unit than last year and I believe that’s shown in our results,” he said.
“We’ve also brought in quality all over the park and having those players, who can turn a game in the blink of an eye, has definitely helped us pick up a few more points than the same team would have last year.”
Saturday, May 17: Armadale v ECU Joondalup (Alfred Skeet Reserve, 3pm); Bayswater City v Perth Glory (Frank Drago Reserve, 3pm); Balcatta v Cockburn City (Grindleford Reserve, 3pm); Inglewood United v Subiaco (Intiga Stadium, 3pm); Sorrento v Floreat Athena (Percy Doyle Reserve, 3pm).
Sunday, May 18: Perth v Stirling Lions (Dorrien Gardens, 3pm).