Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe says teenage striker Jamal Reiners can look back on his Hyundai A-League starting debut with fondness after his mesmeric display helped defeat Victory.
Reiners, 17, was thrust into Glory’s starting XI for the first time on Wednesday night.
And he played a pivotal role in helping Perth upset reigning champions Melbourne Victory 1-0 at nib Stadium, including setting up teammate Diego Castro for the winner in the 74th minute.
The South African-born forward made a dashing run down the left wing, taking the ball deep into the box before firing a low cross to Castro at the near post for the easiest of tap-ins on the goal-line.
It was one of many enthusiastic and impressive efforts as the youngster pressed his case for a regular starting berth.
“He had a ball out there,” Lowe said.
“You generally enjoy your debut. He can certainly look back on that one with fondness because he worked his socks off, he was a threat and he created the goal for Diego.”
Lowe was happy to talk up his side’s form at home, including earlier Westfield FFA Cup matches, pointing out Glory has lost just one match at nib Stadium this season.
Glory will be hoping to carry that winning form into Saturday’s clash with league leaders Western Sydney and claim another three points from a third match in eight days.
Lowe said his players had prepared for Wednesday night’s match against Victory like it was an FFA Cup fixture.
“We seem to be good at them,” Lowe said, referring to Glory reaching the past two FFA Cup finals.
“The players love this – play, recover, play, recover. They don’t train. They love this type of environment.”
Attacking midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic [hamstring] and left back Marc Warren (foot) are in doubt for the Wanderers clash after picking up injuries on Wednesday night.
Castro, who started as a substitute, and Chris Harold are also battling to overcome soreness from the quick turnaround in matches.
Youth has been a key feature of Lowe’s team in recent weeks as Glory looks to cover the absence of several injured players, but the coach denied he would blood more youngsters for the sake of it.
“There’s no promises for anybody, no one is promised anything,” Lowe said.
“That’s the problem sometimes; people think we give promise, but you’ve got to earn it and Jamal earned it.”