Glory up for English challenge

Perth Glory defender Scott Neville believes some mouth-watering pre-season clashes against English Premiership sides will be an invaluable learning experience ahead of his second Hyundai A-League season.

Perth Glory defender Scott Neville believes some mouth-watering pre-season clashes against English Premiership sides will be an invaluable learning experience ahead of his second Hyundai A-League season.

The Glory are already scheduled to play the newly-promoted Wolverhampton in July and are hoping to finalise a match with another Premier League club in the next few weeks.

Wolverhampton wrapped up its promotion to England's top tier by securing its Championship crown last weekend through a 1-1 draw at Barnsley.

But instead of being daunted by the quality that's expected to hit Perth in July, 20-year-old Neville can't wait to have a crack at shutting down some top draw strikers.

"It should be entertaining and exciting," declared the up-and-coming defender.

"The striker for Wolves, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, he's scored 25 goals this year, it should be interesting to see how good he really is, see his movement off the ball and how fast he is."

"That's what you kind of strive for, to play against those type of players."

"To just try to learn as much as you can and just soak in as much information off them because they've obviously been pros at the highest level and that's what you're aiming to achieve."

One of several players to graduate from Perth's National Youth League side, Neville announced himself as a player to watch in an exceptional debut at right-back, helping to contain eventual premiers Melbourne in a 3-2 win for the Glory.

However, since the end of last season, he's been placed in cotton wool by the club after experiencing groin soreness originally feared to be osteitis pubis.

"It was just overuse," admitted Neville. "I'd played two or three seasons straight and there was just some moderate impact on the groin around the bone."

"I played a lot of games and was training twice a day last year and I'm still growing so it affected the groin a bit and it basically just needed a rest."

"Luckily it happened right at the end of the season so I could just rest it and make sure I do everything right so now that it's time to come back to training, it's good again."

Neville said he was excited by the prospect of playing with some of the big name players linked to the Glory during the off-season, Uruguay midfielder Alvaro Recoba the latest in a long line of players reported to be heading to Members Equity stadium.

But the one Neville would be most thrilled to play with is former Blackburn skipper Andy Todd, who appears increasingly likely to play in Perth this season in a central defensive role alongside Neville at right-back.

Currently at Derby, 34-year-old Todd suffered a hamstring injury last week and missed the Rams' final home game of the season against Charlton, although the injury is reported as not being particularly serious.

That will come as good news for Glory coach Dave Mitchell, who saw his top draw import last season, 35-year-old Brazilian midfielder Amaral, cut down with a serious hamstring injury in Round 4 that he never properly recovered from.