19 February 2013 07:35
Perth Glory midfielder Nick Ward and new assistant coach Gareth Naven are relishing the prospect of a sold-out clash with Western Sydney.
The home fans are set to crank up the volume at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday as the Wanderers attempt to secure a seventh successive win, but having toppled ladder-leaders Central Coast last time out, the visitors are quietly confident they can play the role of party poopers.
“I love to play in front of big crowds and it should be a good spectacle,” Ward said.
“I spoke to (Wanderers defender) Nikolai Topor-Stanley the other day and he said that they’re expecting a sell-out, so it should be good.
“They’ve been doing really well, they’re a very organised team, but we’ll do our work this week and hopefully we can go out and create an upset.
“If we stick to our gameplan and play like we did at the weekend, we’re in with a chance.
“And if we can silence their crowd as well, that’ll be good.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Naven, who was a regular visitor to Parramatta Stadium during his playing days in the NSL era.
“From what I remember of it it’s a beautiful football surface and the fans are pretty close to the ground which provides a great atmosphere,” Naven said.
“When you’re playing at home, your fans are your extra player and I’m sure Western Sydney will be raring to go
“But I think it’s a fantastic event and an opportunity for our players and the club to go there and do their best.”
Naven is also looking forward to what he believes will be an intriguing tactical tussle between Glory head coach Alistair Edwards and his opposite number Tony Popovic.
“They’ve got an astute coach who is organised and structured,” he said.
“And they have players who believe in what they’re doing and I think with that kind of combination within the A-League, you’re going to have a tough day.
“With the FFA coaching education processes and pathways, it does challenge and educate the coaches and gives them the knowledge and the tools to try and implement on the training ground.
“So it won’t just be a battle of the players, it’ll be a battle of the coaches as well.”
Ward, meanwhile, was quick to praise the impact both Edwards and Naven have had upon the playing group since taking the reins early last week.
“Alistair got me and everyone else in the team doing their jobs last weekend and it seemed to work really well,” he said.
“With the structure that he brought in, you’re not really running around getting in other people’s way.
“Everyone’s in their own space and it makes you a bit calmer on the ball.
“There’s a lot to learn, but we’ve got a good squad with some great players who have been around the world and are intelligent players, so we are picking up what he’s saying and I think we’ll get better each week.”
In early team news ahead of the Wanderers clash, Jacob Burns is still struggling to overcome his back injury and will not make the trip, but Danny Vukovic is expected to be declared fit despite missing Tuesday’s training session through illness.