Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe expects second-tier Sydney Olympic to provide the biggest test of a pre-season stretch featuring games A-League and top-flight European opposition.
Glory will play two friendly matches in Sydney before meeting high-profile Spanish club Malaga CF at nib Stadium on July 27.
They meet Adelaide United at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday before taking on former NSL rivals Olympic at the same venue on Wednesday.
The match between Glory and Olympic will be their first meeting in almost a decade and is sure to bring back memories of the famous grand final battles of 2002 and 2003.
Olympic won the first grand final encounter 1-0 courtesy of an Ante Milicic strike before Glory got revenge the next year, claiming their maiden national championship with a 2-0 triumph.
Glory legends Jamie Harnwell and Damian Mori were on the scoresheet on a historic day for the WA club.
Both grand finals were played in front of full houses at what was then known as Subiaco Oval.
Lowe led his new-look Glory side to a 1-1 draw against NPL WA side Inglewood United on Tuesday and was looking forward to testing his players with three games over the next week.
But he said the major focus would be on avoiding injury, with the club’s first competitive match of the 2014-15 season – a first-round FFA Cup tie away to Newcastle Jets – less than three weeks away.
“There are some concerns that maybe physically we’re not quite ready for three games in a week, but we’ll manage everybody’s load,” Lowe said at Perth Airport today.
“We’ve just got to be careful that we don’t pick up any injuries.
“The good thing is Adelaide are at the same stage as us and Malaga have just started their pre-season.
“Probably the biggest test will be Sydney Olympic because they’re smack-bang in the middle of their (NPL New South Wales) season.”
The Glory squad has undergone a major facelift over the off-season, with eight new recruits brought in.
Republic of Ireland striker Andy Keogh and former Socceroos attacker Richard Garcia will get more game time over the next week, while Mitch Nichols and Youssouf Hersi are in line to make their first appearances for Glory.
Almost the entire first team squad will travel to Sydney, with Ruben Zadkovich (overseas) and Young Socceroos trio Daniel De Silva, Riley Woodcock and Jordan Thurtell the only absentees.