PERTH GLORY 2011/2012 Season Preview

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It’s been very much a case of out with the old and in with the new for Perth Glory this off-season, and there is great optimism for the year ahead. After last year’s failed Robbie Fowler experiment the club has gone for solid professionals rather than superstars and that should transcend onto the pitch.

Credit: Kristy Beck

Last Season…
10th

They’ll Win The League Because…
…of the Liam Miller/Shane Smeltz combination. The truth though is that Glory won’t win the league and probably won’t come close but the aim has to be to get bums on seats again, and the aforementioned duo are the key to that.

Ian Ferguson is still much maligned by the Glory faithful but has recruited solidly and the new signings should at the very least lead to some better performances. Last season’s hype over the Robbie Fowler acquisition only papered over the cracks in terms of the squad’s overall ability but there is no such smokescreen this time round.

They’ll Be Cellar Dwellers Because…
…there are better sides out there. Make no mistake, Glory as a club know that they face an uphill battle to trouble the top sides and it won’t be easy to finish ahead of the likes of Victory, Roar and Sydney.

Given the failings of the 2010/11 season it is understandable that some supporters are fearing the worst. While the first eleven is much improved on last year there are still a number of positions that require strengthening, most notably left back, centre back and both wings. With not much room to move in the salary cap currently, it will be important that some of the club’s youngsters such as Tommy Amphlett, who has had an excellent preseason, step up to the plate and offer a viable alternative.

Talk Around The Watercooler… Look smart in front of your colleagues with this valuable piece of information.
Travis Dodd became the first indigenous player to score a goal for the Socceroos when he netted on his international debut against Kuwait in an Asian Cup Qualifier in 2006.

The Extended Off-Season Brought…
…plenty of new faces. The Glory first team is largely unrecognisable from the one which performed so poorly last year. For the large part the new signings are very good, though of course it remains to be seen how well they gel together.

It has also brought expectations. The preseason has gone on for an eternity and the fans are getting itchy feet. All sorts of conspiracy theories and radical ideas are replacing sensible discussions simply because everything reasonable that can be said has been over the past six months. Now that the big kickoff is finally upon us the fans are hoping that the disappointments of the last 12 months are very much a thing of the past.

Key Player…
Liam Miller – The Irish international is very much an unknown quantity in Australia, despite having played for both Manchester United and Celtic. Even Fox Sports have criminally undervalued him in their Fantasy Football. Miller is quality, make no mistake about it, and will pull the strings in Glory’s midfield. His passing range and vision are excellent, and Shane Smeltz can expect some top drawer service.

Glory supporters have been crying out for a creative influence in the middle of the park for years now and thankfully that particular problem has been solved for the next two years.

One To Watch…
Jesse Makarounas – It was a toss up between Makarounas and Adam Taggart given one or both will probably be required to provide cover for Smeltz and Billy Mehmet at some point during the season. Still only 17, Makarounas plays predominantly as an attacking midfielder who came to Glory from the AIS. He picked up the Golden Boot at the 2010 AFC Under 16 Championship and this year represented his country at the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in Mexico.

Full Squad List
1. Danny VUKOVIC, 2. Josh MITCHELL, 3. Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 4. Billy MEHMET, 6. Chris COYNE, 7. Jacob BURNS, 8. Adam HUGHES, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 10. Liam MILLER, 11. Victor SIKORA, 12. Scott NEVILLE, 13. Travis DODD, 14. Steve MCGARRY, 15. Tommy AMPHLETT, 16. Evan BERGER, 17. Todd HOWARTH, 18. Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 19. Josh RISDON, 20. Neil YOUNG, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI, 22. Adam TAGGART, 23. ANDREZINHO.

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Neil Sherwin
Neil has covered the Perth Glory and the Hyundai A-League for five years and is one of Western Australia's most knowledgeable football journalists.

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