Harnwell: EPL games a plus

Perth Glory veteran Jamie Harnwell believes the club's blockbuster clashes with Wolverhampton and Fulham will be an extra spur during the long pre-season to come.

Perth Glory veteran Jamie Harnwell believes the club's blockbuster clashes with Wolverhampton and Fulham will be an extra spur during the long pre-season to come.

Speaking on Thursday as he geared up for the Glory's first training session of the new campaign, Harnwell said he was ecstatic when the club confirmed it would be playing against the English Premiership clubs, along with Hyundai A-League new boys, the North Queensland Fury, led by Robbie Fowler.

On Monday, the Glory announced it would play pre-season matches against Wolves on Friday July 10th, followed by Fulham (July 15th) and the Fury (July 18th).

Wolverhampton will also take on North Queensland in a curtain raiser to the Fulham clash, giving Perth fans the chance to see former-Liverpool striker Fowler playing in Australia for the first time.

Harnwell, though, said the high profile matches were certain to give pre-season training an edge it may not have had before.

"To get these teams over here is huge and I can't wait for those games," Harnwell said.

"I was ecstatic. I've always dreamt about playing in those leagues, unfortunately never quite made it, but to get the chance to play against those sort of players, for me it's probably one of the last chances I'll get."

"For the young boys it's the chance for them to see what they're aspiring too. So it was huge news and I was wrapped that the club could finally secure it."

"(But) I think there's going to be real competition for places just for those games, let alone for the season."

"So it certainly adds a bit more pressure to the pre-season but it's also a great opportunity to perform against some of the best players in the world," he said.

Preparing for his 11th pre-season, the 31-year-old Harnwell modestly described himself as just a 'worthwhile squad player' as he gets older.

But he remains as passionate as ever about seeing the Glory return to the pinnacle of Australian football, a position the former powerhouse club of the old National Soccer League (NSL) once took for granted.

"Everything's been geared off the pitch now," Harnwell said.

"We've got our full-time fitness and strength conditioning coach with us so I'm sure there'll be a few different things that we haven't seen before," he said, referring to Peter Cklamovski, who's previously worked with the Australian sides at the 2007 Asian Cup and the 2008 Olympics, along with Greek club Panahaiki FC.

"We'll obviously get eased in the first day or two but I think it's going to be a pretty strenuous pre-season."

"In the past perhaps we could say we've had excuses, I think this year there's no more excuses, everything's been done to give us the best chance to perform out there and we've got to take that chance now."