Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van’t Schip believes Perth Glory is currently “one of the better teams in the A-League” and will be a challenging assignment in Albury, despite his team’s current resurgence.
Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van-t Schip believes Perth Glory is currently “one of the better teams in the A-League” and will be a challenging assignment in Albury, despite his team-s current resurgence.
The Red and White have enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in 2014, having lost just one match in the past five; collecting seven points in the past three matches.
However, Perth have proven to be a thorn in Melbourne-s side this season, having recorded a 1-0 win over Heart earlier in the season, and accounted for van-t Schip-s side 3-0 in January.
Click play on the video below to watch the full press conference
The Glory, who sit seventh on the Hyundai A-League ladder, have also regained personnel and strengthened during the January transfer window, with the addition of Rostyn Griffiths, Nebojsa Marinkovic and Darvydas Sernas; the later scoring on debut last weekend.
“Perth have a very good team; everybody is almost back now from injury or suspension [for them] and if you look at their starting eleven, it is a team that I think is one of the better teams in the A-League,” van-t Schip said.
“We have to focus on our own game, but of course when they have the ball we have to be organised.
“We need to focus on the [Perth Glory] team, not only one player in particular, but of course [striker Shane] Smeltz is the goal scorer, and he likes scoring against Heart.”
In fact, Smeltz has scored eight goals in eight games against Heart during his career, making him the Red and White-s nemesis.
While Melbourne Heart-s two losses against Perth have come in Western Australia, the two teams will battle for competition points in unfamiliar territory.
The match will be held at Albury-s Lavington Sports Ground in a Hyundai A-League first, with the ‘regional fixture- part of Football Federation Australia-s pledge to connect the competition with regional Australia.
The match will also provide Albury-s football community with the chance to witness two sides battle for competition points and continue Melbourne Heart's engagement with the region - which has rich football traditions and boasts the development of Socceroo Josh Kennedy.
Despite talk about the hot conditions in Albury, van-t Schip said the side is more focused on performing for the local, and travelling fans, by continuing the team's recent resurgence.
“They are all things we can-t do anything about, we can-t control it, so we have to prepare our own game and take the good feeling with us and go out there and really try to play a good game," Van-t Schip said.
“The group is good, the confidence is there, and I think even not looking at the results, that the boys are physically good and playing good football.
“And now with the results of the last few games the confidence is only growing."
In team news for Melbourne Heart, van-t Schip confirmed that striker Michael Mifsud will not be in the squad for the second week running while Harry Kewell took time out from some of today's session to preserve energy.
“We are coming off five weeks really hard training, also for Harry coming of his injury, is a little bit more a week that we build some rest in for him," van't Schip said.
“He is going to train normally tomorrow and be there on Sunday”.
Van-t Schip kept his cards close to his chest in regards to Orlando Engelaar-s replacement in the starting eleven, with David Williams earmarked for a starting berth after his impressive impact in Melbourne-s 2-1 win over Sydney FC last Friday.