Perth Glory coach Ruben Zadkovich says it is “extremely unfair and ridiculous” to be facing a fired-up Western United after a 72-hour turnaround in Saturday’s A-League clash in Tasmania.
He said Western’s star-studded side, currently second and pushing for top spot, had been handed a “cushy” week to prepare from their 4-1 humbling defeat by Wellington Phoenix.
Glory’s injury-ravaged side flew to Launceston after Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Wellington in Sydney with Zadkovich blaming the heavy fixture list – the game at UTAS Stadium will be their seventh in three weeks – and travel for the huge injury toll.
“The disappointing thing for me is an extremely unfair and extremely ridiculous scenario that we’re playing three games in six days and travelling round Australia,” Zadkovich said.
“Western United, they get a nice cushy week lead-in which gives them a massive advantage.
“It’s a very unfair situation for my players to have to play a team that’s had a week lead in-when we’ve had three games in that same amount of time.
“That’s the biggest issue, the intensity and the freshness of their legs, a team that’s going to be fresh and fit versus the fatigue of ours.
“We’re trying to tick every box that we can but let’s be honest, less than 72 hours to run around and play a team in a different state is a ridiculous ask, especially for the squad we have at the moment.
“Look at the quality of their players. They are a top shelf team at this level.
“They’ve got quality players in nearly every position. That’s why they are where they are on the ladder.”
Zadkovich has called in NPL defender Jacob Young, who has just one appearance from the bench this season, to cover the left-back hole left by Jack Clisby, who suffered suspected MCL damage against Phoenix.
Young will join teammates for their only training session on Friday.
“It’s recovery, tactical all rolled into one,” Zadkovich said.
“We have to try and find a solution tactically that makes us economical but we’ll pick up the pieces in very trying circumstances.”
Meanwhile, in an ominous warning to Glory, Western coach John Aloisi expects a big response from the Wellington loss.
It put a dent in their title hopes as they chase leaders Melbourne City, but the damage to his team’s pride was a more immediate concern for Aloisi who said they had responded impressively.
“It’s probably the most intense I’ve seen them train all season,” Aloisi said.
“Excited about the game now because when you train like that you normally perform at that level.
“Their pride took a hit, that’s the biggest thing.
“The players felt it and the response has been good.”