Family ties draw defender to Perth

New Perth Glory fullback Joseph Mills is pushing hard for a starting berth in Kenny Lowe’s side as the Englishman eyes a competitive debut against Sydney FC in the Westfield FFA Cup next week.

The Southampton Academy graduate, who spent time training alongside Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale, arrived in Perth three weeks ago following two seasons with League One side Oldham Athletic.

Mills played 45 minutes in Glory’s 1-0 win against a West Australian State XI last week and will get another chance to impress when Perth play Iraq in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Thursday.

“Obviously, that’s [Sydney FC] the next competitive game but I know I still need to do some work,” Mills told reporters on Tuesday.

“We’ve got Iraq too coming up which will be a good game and hopefully I can put it into the manager’s head that I’m available for selection if he needs me and when he needs me.

“For me, I just want to hit the ground running and do as well as I can but first and foremost I’ve got to put in the performances that the manager feels are good enough to get me a starting place.

“If not, then I’ll bide my time and when the time comes, make sure that I take the opportunity.”

Joseph Mills

Having started his career as a left-sided midfielder the former England U-17 and U-18 international now sees himself more adept as a wing-back.

Mills' desire to get forward will no doubt complement Glory's firepower up front but the 26-year-old is adamant he won't be shirking his defensive responsibilities.

“I started out further up the pitch so I’d describe myself as an attack minded full-back,” said Mills.

“I’m not afraid to do the defensive work and put a tackle in but at the same time I’m happy to go forward, link up play and hopefully create some goals for the strikers and midfielders.”

In terms of other players Perth has signed during the off-season much has been made of the Western Australian recruitment drive Kenny Lowe has headed up over the past two seasons.

Glory currently has 14 players that were born or raised in the west on their books, with the likes of Adam Taggart, Rhys Williams and Rostyn Griffiths joining the squad for the 2016/17 campaign.

Perth Glory

It’s led to a family atmosphere at nib Stadium during pre-season, with Mills thankful for the way he's been welcomed to the club.

Football clearly runs in the Mills family too, with brothers Matt and Jamie playing for Nottingham Forest and Rangers but Mills revealed it was actually another brother, who is now a Perth local, who encouraged him to make the journey Down Under.

“Yeah, to be fair that’s one thing that I’ve found here that the lads have been really, really welcoming,” said Mills.

“A lot of the lads know each other, obviously coming through the system but even a foreign player coming in, they’ve made us feel very welcome and at home and that’s a credit to the team atmosphere we’ve got here.”

“My brother [Jon-Paul] actually lives over and he’s always said about coming over here.

“With last season I was not enjoying my football as much. So this opportunity was kind of here and there and I spoke about it a little bit more.

“Once it was on the table and the opportunity come around I jumped at it.”

Having beaten Brisbane Roar in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 Perth Glory will host Sydney FC at Dorrien Gardens on August 30 for a spot in the quarter-finals.