Perth Glory 13/14 mid-season report card

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It’s the time of the year when clubs look towards the second half of the season and The Football Sack critiques each club’s progress so far. Do you agree with our assessments made in the return of our mid-season report cards?

Perth Glory

Semester Summary
Another season, another managerial change at Perth. The wheels looked to have come off the wagon yet again when Alistair Edwards was fired the role in December but Kenny Lowe, to his credit, has steadied the ship since coming in and Glory have posted some good results. Edwards’ departure amidst rumours of a player revolt and nepotism was ugly and disappointing for all connected with the club, but the fans have seen it all before and adopted the sensible stance of backing the badge over individuals. Injuries have been a killer, as marquee man William Gallas, star striker Shane Smeltz and in-form left-back Scott Jamieson have all missed considerable game time. However, reinforcements are on the way with Serbian Nebojsa Marinkovic signed on and, at the time of writing, talks ongoing with Adrian Madaschi, Rostyn Griffiths and Darvydas Sernas.

Areas of Excellence

The youngsters have been very good for the most part. Many teams would struggle badly if they lost quality full backs like Jamieson and Josh Risdon but teenagers Matthew Davies and Riley Woodcock have excelled since getting their chance in the first team, and Jack Clisby has gone from strength to strength alongside Michael Thwaite in the centre. Danny De Silva continues to develop with restricted game time while Chris Harold has rebounded from an average preseason to do an excellent job leading the line in the absence of Smeltz and Jamie Maclaren. The Edwards boys, Cameron and Ryan, have contributed when called upon, while Adrian Zahra looks to be finding his best form following his return from that horror Kevin Muscat tackle in 2012.

Areas in need of improvement
Just like last season, Glory’s shyness in front of goal is a big issue. As Kenny Lowe pointed out in a recent press conference, the defence isn’t a problem and the team doesn’t leak many goals. At the other end though, they have bagged just 15 goals in 15 games. That average of a goal a game is even lower than last season’s 1.07 (27 games, 29 goals) and Lowe will be hopeful that Marinkovic and Sernas, should he sign, can help address that. Head of the class at this point in the season is Danny Vukovic; the 28-year-old has been rock solid between the posts, so much so that people are wondering whether he can make a late run for the Socceroos World Cup squad. The fact that he has committed to the club for another three years is a massive boost, too. Honourable mentions should go to Brazilian import Sidnei and the three young amigos at the back in Davies, Woodcock and Clisby.

Class Clowns
Ljubo Milicevic. While we aren’t privy to everything that went on during the 32-year-old’s brief stint at the Glory during preseason, the unofficial word on the street is that he was disruptive to the point of being asked to leave the club. It left the Glory a centre-back short just a week before the season kicked off and, while his departure eventually paved the way for Gallas to join, it left a sour taste in the mouths of many fans who had welcomed him back for a second spell at the club.

Grade
C. The Edwards debacle threatened to have the class failing but two wins and two draws in the last five games, including four clean sheets, has shown that cramming pays off.

Outlook
With some key players returning from injury and the Glory hovering in and around the six, they have to be confident of making the finals. A tough three-game stretch against Brisbane Roar, Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Victory kicked off with a draw against the league leaders last Friday and will give a clearer indication of where exactly they’re at.

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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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