30/05/2024

Glory fans will have plenty of opportunity to watch their beloved side in the run home to finals. Photo: perthglory.com.au

Perth Glory coach Richard Garcia is embracing every opportunity to play in front of a home crowd after a hectic season on the road.

Every player will tell you they cherish playing in front of a home crowd.

For Perth Glory, it has been a long waiting game to play in front of its fans throughout the entirety of the 2020/21 A-League season.

After the club’s first home game against Adelaide United, they would hit the road for a month before returning back home to their loyal spectators.

Arriving back at HBF Park to a 5,432 strong crowd, Glory would prevail over Brisbane Roar in a 3-1 victory, cheered on for the whole 90 minutes.

Between the end of January and the middle of April, Glory travelled for 11 games and played just a further three at home.

The side now sits firmly in the middle of an eight-game streak in front of the home crowd, which they are absolutely revelling in.

While head coach Richard Garcia has been embracing the challenge of his side’s difficult schedule, nothing can beat waking up in the familiar horizons of home.

“I think there’s a big difference psychologically for the players when they’re in their own beds and they’re at home,” he said in Tuesday’s press conference.

“It would have been nice to be able to do it week-by-week and have some type of period where we have one game a week.

“We love playing in front of our home crowd and I think that really spurs our guys on to play at their best.”

Glory’s very first away game of the season was against Wednesday night’s opponents in Western United.

United showed off the scoring prowess of the side, booting five goals from four individual scorers, Dylan Pierias landing a brace.

While the rematch will be played in very similar circumstances, Garcia believes his side is more than prepared to take the chocolates this time around.

“The last game against them was a bit of a strange one, it was not a normal game, it was very end-to-end,” he said.

“It was our second game of the year, coming off a game three days ago, very much like we are in the situation now.

“They have got attacking threats, but so do we. It’s about us having that focus of not conceding, and I think that is slowly growing throughout the year.”

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Garcia is making no excuses for the hectic schedule Glory has had to endure this year, but he does acknowledge how difficult it has been.

One of the biggest factors has been struggling to lock down one regular team, having had to rotate players in and out of the side to avoid fatigue and injuries.

“Us being in lockdown and being in quarantine a couple of times hasn’t helped us with games,” Garcia said.

“We’ve had that schedule all year and it’s been a difficult process. A lot of the players are starting to get used to that process, but it’s still about trying to get the guys out there fresh and ready to go.

“Guys like to play consistently, but with the schedule it becomes virtually impossible, especially the way that the season has gone for us.

“The opportunity to rest players becomes difficult.

“The effort it requires to play three games a week constantly, you can probably do it one week in a month, but when you’re doing it every week for the whole season, it takes a toll on the bodies and it takes a toll on the mentalities. I think the boys have dealt with it very, very well, and they’ve got the previous history of doing it over and over again.

“We’ve had a little bit of luck, but it’s been the good work of the medical staff and probably resting people when they need a rest.

“There’s times that we’ve suffered because of that, but at the same time we’ve managed to get through the season so far with only minor injuries, which is fantastic. It’s a testament to the hard work that the medical staff are putting in and the players are as well into their bodies.

“For us, being at home it’s a fantastic opportunity to go on and get back to back victories. The boys are firing after last week and they’re feeling confident.”

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