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Glory coach blasts A-League Men fixturing as injury toll grows

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
13th April, 2022
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Frustrated by fixturing issues and a massive injury toll, Perth coach Ruben Zadkovich is ready to throw more youngsters into the Glory A-League Men’s team, as he tries to make the best of what he says is an almost unwinnable situation.

Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Wellington on Sydney was last-placed Perth’s fourth defeat in a row and extended their winless streak to 13 matches.

Zadkovich has been in charge for the last six fixtures after being promoted from the club’s academy coach post to head coach in place of the sacked Richard Garcia.

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He has been dealt an almost impossible hand with close to 15 players injured including his star forwards Daniel Sturridge, Bruno Fornaroli and Andy Keogh.

Trent Ostler (dislocated shoulder) Jack Clisby (suspected MCL) joined the list on Wednesday.

Perth fielded two debutants and had 10 of their young NPL players in Wednesday’s squad.

With less than 72 hours to recover before their next match, Glory were looking at possibly flying more youngsters from Perth over for Saturday’s clash with second-placed Western United in Tasmania.

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That will be Perth’s seventh match in three weeks, with five of those on the road and just two or three rest days between each of those games.

Zadkovich attributed the high injury count to scheduling and the short turnarounds, especially away from home.

“I’m frustrated, I’m not happy about the fixturing and I care a lot about my players so it’s a tough one to take, losing two more guys,” Zadkovich said.

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The Glory team on Wednesday included a number of players who weren’t even born when 40-year-old goalkeeper Liam Reddy made his senior debut back in 2001.

Perth look likely to finish bottom and Zadkovich said he shared the frustration of the supporters, but praised the youngsters for their efforts in difficult circumstances.

“We have to take the positives out of it, it’s almost an unwinnable situation,” Zadkovich said.

“If you look at it in reality, with the players that we’ve got out and the scheduling of the fixtures and the average age of the squad.

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“If you take Liam Reddy out of the squad, age can’t be much more than. 21, 22 as a whole.”

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