Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe took a strong squad interstate today as preparations for the club’s upcoming FFA Cup tie intensify.
Glory meet Adelaide United in a friendly match at Hindmarsh Stadium tomorrow before visiting Melbourne Victory on Sunday.
The fixtures will provide valuable game time for the majority of Glory’s first-choice players ahead of the FFA Cup round of 16 clash with Victorian semi-professional club St Albans on September 23.
Senior players Sidnei Sciola (hamstring) and Ruben Zadkovich (knee) are unavailable through injury this week, while rising star Daniel De Silva is on Young Socceroos duty.
Rostyn Griffiths travelled with the squad today but is unlikely to play against Adelaide or Melbourne as he recovers from a knee injury.
Lowe said most of his key players would see some action.
“I think everybody’s got to get exposed to A-League quality games, if you want to call it that, to get ready for the season,” Lowe said.
“We’ve had a good build-up with Newcastle, Malaga and some games against teams from the local competition, which has been great because it allows us to get moving in patterns.
“The whole focus is the FFA Cup game and then we get a bit of a breather for a few weeks before the lead-in to the A-League season.”
Glory have been doing their homework on St Albans, who play in the third-tier NPL Victoria 1 competition.
The Saints sit third on the league table with four rounds to play and qualified for the FFA Cup round of 16 with a win over Parramatta FC last month.
Glory will send a member of the coaching staff to Melbourne in the coming weeks see their opponents in action.
“We’ll take their games in and we’ve spoken to a fair amount of people,” Lowe said.
“Someone from the staff will get to see them play.”
Lowe initially took over as Glory’s interim coach when Alistair Edwards was sacked in December (2013) and expressed dissatisfaction with the players’ fitness levels.
But he said the squad, which features eight new players, was in fine shape heading into the 2014-15 season.
Glory will have about 15 games, including two competitive FFA Cup ties, before opening the A-League season away to Wellington Phoenix on October 12.
“We’re very pleased with the boys,” Lowe said.
“They all came back in a professional manner with minimum weight and skin fold gain.
“We set targets with regards to (aerobic speed) running and all of those have been exceeded.
“We use GPS and hear-rate monitors every session and there’s nowhere to hide for anyone anyway, and you can see that in the shape of the boys.”