NPL - Nicolaidis returns to old home
NPL - Nicolaidis returns to old home

The fond memories of his time with Floreat Athena will forever remain with Perth SC coach Taki Nicolaidis.

But when he stands at the touchline to take on Athena, a club he represented at every level as a player from the age of five and later as an assistant coach, he is motivated by the thought of getting a result.

It will be no different tomorrow when the teams meet in a National Premier Leagues WA match at Dorrien Gardens.

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Nicolaidis played junior football for Floreat before spending 10 seasons as a senior player and then nine years as an assistant coach at the Mount Hawthorn club.

“The club meant a great to deal to me and as a player the 1988 season was very memorable,” he said.

“I played and scored for them in both the Top Four Final and the D’Orsogna Cup Final in front of a bumper 5000 crowd, while the undefeated season in 1990 was special too.

“Then as a coach building a squad with Michael Roki for three seasons, which culminated in the 2007 Floreat side that also went undefeated that season, all are fond memories that will stay with me forever.”

Since joining Perth midway through last season, Nicolaidis has been impressed by the club’s youth ranks - the U20 and U18 teams are top of their competitions – and he has made use of a number of younger players in the first team.

“Our youth development is second to none and we are now seeing some of them make the step up to first team football,” he said.

“We lost a number of senior players recently but James Marocchi, Aden Da Luz and Nick Ambrogio filled the void last season.

“This season we have unearthed some very good players, the likes of Matt Milenkovic, Marco Santalucia and Harley Orr, who all made their senior debut last week and they will all be rewarded again this week with a spot in the squad.”

Perth lost the services of defender Adrian Madaschi last week when the former Socceroos defender signed for Hyundai A-League club Newcastle Jets.

While his absence will be felt, Nicolaidis was delighted to have had him at the club, even though it was only a short period.

“Adrian has been very valuable for us and has helped us a lot in the games that he played and was fantastic for our younger players,” Nicolaidis said.

“But considering that he has only played 3 out of 12 games this year we have also done well without him and I’m confident the players that will come in will do the job for us on Saturday.”

Perth welcomes back skipper Craig Simpson and striker Friday Zico to their squad, while Floreat regain the services of midfielder Aryn Williams but will be without suspended goalkeeper Tom Dixon. John Thornley is in doubt due to injury.

NPL fixtures

Saturday: Cockburn City v Stirling Lions (Dalmatinac Park, 3pm); Perth v Floreat Athena (Dorrein Gardens, 3pm); Balcatta v Bayswater City (Grindleford Reserve, 3pm); Perth Glory v ECU Joondalup (Intiga Stadium, 3pm); Sorrento v Inglewood United (Percy Doyle Reserve, 3pm).

Sunday: Subiaco v Armadale (WA Athletics Stadium, 3pm)

The West Australian

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